CARRIE HELLER, MSW, LCSW, RPT
Carrie Heller, our Founder and Executive Director, is a professional trapeze artist, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and a Registered Play Therapist (RPT). Since 1972, Carrie has been in the circus ring mastering an array of skills in the circus arts. She began her circus training at the age of eight with the Florida State University Flying High Circus, and moved on to become a circus teacher, performer, and choreographer. She complements her circus training with the study of dance, yoga and martial arts.
Carrie received her Masters in Social Work from Tulane University and moved to Atlanta after graduating. She has been a therapist since 1987. In 1988, Carrie founded Atlanta’s first circus school. At the same time she served as Director of Clinical Services at The Bridge Runaway Shelter in Atlanta. Shortly after that, she went into private practice and founded Circus Camp.
Carrie has traveled throughout the world lecturing on topics relating to both circus arts and Circus Arts Therapy ®. She has served as a trainer for Cirque Du Monde, a Cirque Du Soleil Outreach Program that uses circus arts to help youth in difficulty around the world. She is the Aerial Supervisor and Consulting Therapist to the internationally-renowned Camp Winnarainbow in California. Carrie is also a co-founding member of the American Youth Circus Organization (AYCO).
Carrie is the author of the industry’s first Aerial Circus Training and Safety Manual, a guide for teachers and students in the Aerial Arts. Her passion for ensuring that Circus Arts are taught and enjoyed as safe as possible, has her lovingly referred to as the "Safety Police". She is currently passionate about passing on her experience in Aerial and Circus Arts Therapy® in her Aerial Teacher Trainings and Circus Arts Therapy® Trainings.
In conjunction with Dr. Lauren Taglialatela, Carrie co-authored the article Circus Arts Therapy® Fitness and Play Therapy Program Shows Positive Clinical Results, which can be found in the International Journal of Play Therapy, April 2018 edition: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pla0000068 .