Dr. Graves is a Licensed Professional Art Therapist and a retired Professor Emeritus from the University of Louisville, where she started the first Masters Degree in Art Therapy Program and developed the Institute of Expressive Therapies. She taught there for 30 years before retiring to practice in the private sector. During her tenure at the University she was privileged to take several courses in law school that ended up contributing to her Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Special Education. Her studies in trauma, oncology, and high-risk neonatology lead her to a career in grief counseling and trauma-informed practice.
Dr. Graves has been a founder of four companies in her career, one in aftercare services for funeral homes throughout the U.S., two counseling agencies, and one foster care agency. She began her career as an Expert Witness approximately forty years ago by identifying factors in children's drawings indicative of trauma and abuse. She has been affiliated with high-profile cases such as the Standard Gravure murders, the Radcliff bus crash, and the Shanda Shearer murder case, which led to an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show. She has evaluated serial rapists and murderers in death penalty cases as well as provided other forensic services across the country. Dr. Graves vast experience also lead her to become a regular guest expert on WAVE Country News, in which she talked about creative coping with daily life events as well as those involving trauma.
In her scholarly activities, Dr. Graves has lectured throughout the United States and Canada. She published and edited a journal on grief, has written numerous articles for professional journals and associations, and is one of the Founders and Past President of the American Art Therapy Association. She is a published book author, including Expressions of Healing and Implementing the Expressive Therapies Continuum. She has also written chapters for other books, and her work with death row inmates has been published in Art on Trial. She has also presented in several venues about the Art Therapist as an Expert Witness. Upon her retirement from the University of Louisville, Dr. Graves was awarded the distinction Outstanding Alumnae.
As part of community service, she was co-therapist for Survivors of Suicide and founded SAME (Surviving a Murder Effectively). She also helped develop RESPOND, a crisis team comprising a coalition of mental health agencies in Louisville and was on the Steering Committee and Coordinator of Training for Critical Incident Stress Debriefing teams in seven counties in Kentucky and southern Indiana. Appointed to the Governor's Task Force on Childhood Sex Abuse, she also was invited to be Co-Chair of the Intervention Committee, Task Force on Childhood Sex Abuse appointed by the Commonwealth Attorney. She was also a member of Rotary, graduated from the Leadership Oldham County program, helped found and later served as President of the Oldham County Arts Association, and was Coordinator of Teen Court for Oldham County. Dr. Graves currently serves on the Board of Expressive Media, Inc.
Dr. Graves is a member of the American Art Therapy Association and the International Society of Mental Health Forensic Science. She provides forensic evaluation, treatment, and Expert Witness Testimony for Shelton Forensic Solutions.