Laurel M. Thompson, former chair and longtime faculty member of Pratt Institute’s Creative Arts Therapy Department, as well as an alumna of the department, passed away on June 9, 2021. She was 71.
Thompson came to Pratt in 1980 with a background in psychology and dance therapy to pursue her MPS in Art Therapy and Creativity Development. She completed her degree at Pratt in 1982, specializing in dance therapy, a program of the department that she was instrumental in shaping.
Thompson began teaching at Pratt in 1987 and became chair of Creative Arts Therapy in 1992, following a brief period as acting chair. During her time as chair, she continued teaching in the department and was promoted consistently over the years, achieving the rank of full professor in 2008. She retired in August 2016.
As her obituary remembers, Thompson had a lifelong passion for dance and for helping people. Through dance therapy, she discovered a way to combine these callings and help countless people through creative means. Thompson continuously developed her education in the discipline over the years and maintained involvement in numerous organizations including the American Art Therapy Association.
Thompson is survived by her daughter, Emily Torres, and her husband, Boris; her son, Gareth Thompson, and his husband, Nicholas Ford; her friend of 60 years Barbara Paciejewksi; and her many former students and colleagues.
Pratt’s Creative Arts Therapy Department has made a donation to plant a tree in memoriam.