Art therapy as a way of helping with healing and building connection is being explored at Cloverdale Community Centre, and the community has opportunities to find out more about the practice at mini workshop sessions in October.

Trainee art therapist Anna Hurley is based at the centre as part of her university studies. In Term 4, Anna will be at the centre on Tuesdays and Fridays.

“I am very excited to be working with the team at Cloverdale as a trainee art therapist for the next few months,” Anna said. “Prior to this, I have worked in schools, teaching arts and photography.”

During her placement at Cloverdale, Anna is also supporting other staff in group training sessions. She provides creative activities that are linked to the topics being discussed by the group.

Anna provided the following information to help better understand her role:

You’re probably asking what is art therapy?

First and foremost, you don’t have to be an artist to use art therapy and it can include all sorts of media and materials, depending on your own preferences.

Neuroscience is now confirming the positive effects that working with the arts in all their forms have on our mental health in numerous ways.

There is strong evidence to show that artmaking and expression through artistic processes can change our brain and behaviour.

How can it help me?

Art therapy can be healing in many ways:

  • It can provide space away from our everyday stresses.
  • Help with emotional regulation and accessing nonverbal/internal worlds.
  • Give you opportunities to express your inner thoughts, while helping you to better understand and make sense of your emotions and your mental health.
  • Connect you with a sense of meaning and help you with communicating this to others.
  • Allow you to recognise your own growth and inner strength.
  • Can be practised with individual clients, families and groups or provide tools for your own self-care.

For anyone who would like to find out more about art therapy, Anna is conducting free mini workshops at Cloverdale Community Centre on Tuesdays October 3 and 10, from 12.30pm until 1.30pm.

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