Born prematurely, and later diagnosed with a life-threatening childhood illness, Ms. De Pietro spent most of her early years in hospitals. Surviving several near death experiences had a lasting effect on her. It was there in the hospital at the child life center that she was first introduced to art. She knew from then on that she would dedicate her life to being an artist. After studying at the School of Visual Arts and later at the Paris American Academy, she went on to have a fruitful career as a painter. As time went on she realized that cloistering herself in her studio painting did not address her own suppressed emotions which had caused her to seek refuge there in the first place. Furthermore, it didn't allow her to give back to others who were suffering. Taking a sabbatical from painting to study art therapy, Ms. De Pietro set out to confront her own complexes and in the process help those in need. She learned how to use the creative process to reach those who experienced trauma and abuse. She recognized that you cannot run and hide from past trauma because the past will come and find you. What is hidden in our shadow selves is what keeps us confined and doomed to repeat the patterns of abuse. It is only by confronting the truth of what happened in the past that helps us shed the shroud of secrecy that keeps us spellbound in shame and guilt. "We all have stories. We all have had pain and suffering in our lives, some more than others. If we keep our stories locked up and hidden they will become a heavy burden, and cause us only more grief. We can learn from our past when we step back and take a long hard look, and realize that these traumatic experiences don't define us. We learn more from our struggles and misfortunes than we do from our accomplishments. When we let go of our guilt, shame, fear and loneliness, we can make room for the good stuff, like joy, and love. Follow the stories and you will find the truth hidden in between the lines".