2012 – Newfoundland
The VATI program was an invaluable educational experience that led me to develop my expertise in art therapy while combining my neurodevelopmental background. The strength of this program is the excellent instructors, mentors as well as students themselves. The instructors and mentors create an experiential learning environment where students learn their own therapeutic process while teaching and learning from each other. I have created a sensory art therapy program and use it in my now busy private practice as well as at the Autism Society of NL and Easter Seals NL. I am presently conducting PhD research on the health promoting benefits of art therapy in individuals with developmental disabilities.
– Christina Dove
2011 – HAMILTON, ONTARIO
Since my graduation from the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute (and Athabasca University’s Master’s in Counselling Program) in 2011, I have been working as a contract art therapist for various residential treatment programs in Hamilton, Guelph, Acton and Orangeville, Ontario.
I offer individual, family, and group therapy. My clients are predominately children and youth in foster care and I look forward to expanding my client base further. I have an interest in attachment across the lifespan and am continuing therapeutic training on this topic. A side area of interest for me is assisting with running conferences for teens, facilitating art therapy workshops while promoting self-awareness and creative thinking.
– Karen Campbell
2010 – EDMONTON, ALBERTA
I’ve done some work at schools, both elementary and junior high in the past. This spring, I had the opportunity to do a 6-week group in collaboration with a drama therapist; the group at an elementary school with a grade six class, with the intent being to help transition them to junior high.
This was hard work but rewarding and fun! Currently I am working at Casahouse in Sherwood Park with troubled adolescents and their families. In this setting, I work with a team of healthcare workers and do art therapy with the teens and families I see. I also do a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and art therapy through Wellspring Hope Mission with women who struggle with addictions issues; the group is called ‘Seeking Safety’. I continue to see these women one a one-to-one basis once the group is over, and am able to utilize different treatment modalities for people who have been traumatized, including EMDR. This model seems to be quite effective and the next move will hopefully be to offer a similar process to the male clients who come through the program.
I am also close to finishing my hours for registration as a psychologist. It has been a grind but I have had a wealth of experience as a result of fulfilling my hours.
– Irene Haire
2009 – VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA
I was a school counselor before my art therapy training and I have continued to be in the same place. Although on the record it looks like nothing has changed, I know that is not correct.
Since I finished my training, I have changed my approach to my personal and professional life. At school, I found a new ground to inspire the staff and students I work with. Some students I meet for one-on-one sessions, and I also work with a teenage girls’ group.
Every year I facilitate an on going piece of group art work with kindergarten students as a way to introduce myself to them and their parents – I couldn’t have a better way to connect with them.
On a personal level, for the last two years I have joined an art club (The Art Way). This is a group of mainly senior women that meets once a week to create with multi media. I joined the group in order to cultivate my own creativity. I remember that one of the assignments in the training was to interview an art therapist. The person that I interviewed was an art therapist who had drawn away from the art and used verbal therapy only. When I explored the reasons for that, I came to the conclusion that in order to practice art therapy to its full potential I have to practice art myself. Even though I’m just a participant in the art group, I bring additional value due to my background.
I feel that the training gave me the tools and a platform to explore, express and to help others and myself.
– Malki Moshkovitz
2009 – HONG KONG
When I first moved back to Hong Kong, there were some art therapy projects here and there. Many people showed interest and were curious about what art therapy was, but they were not ready to pay for the service. A lot of education was needed to show people our profession.
Soon, I found myself tiring of running around and doing voluntary sessions at different places. I tried to apply art therapy whenever and wherever I could, including parenting groups, men’s groups, religious groups, retreats, etc.
After laying enough groundwork, I now am able to run regular groups and one-to-one sessions. During the same period of trying to bring art therapy into Hong Kong as a recognized treatment modality, I was working hard towards my registration with CATA. Currently, I am teaching art therapy at Bethel Seminary’s Counseling Center (I imagine that it has the potential to develop into something similar to St. Stephen’s in Edmonton). I am also supervising students from the Person-Centered Expressive Arts Program (Natalie Rogers’ program delivered through HKU). Recently, I have been attracted to integrating body-centered therapy such as Hakomi with art therapy.
On a personal note, my grandmother passed away this May in Calgary due to complications related to Dementia. We had a very close relationship, as I lived with her until I was eight. Unfortunately, I was caught up in teachings and other jobs when she passed away suddenly. I did not make it to fly to Calgary to see her before her death; a short time after her passing, I had a call from a center whose mandate was to serve elderly clients with Dementia. Now, as a “catch-up” or compensation or memorial act, I have had the opportunity to facilitate regular sessions with family members whose loved ones suffer from Dementia. In some ways, I think of this work as exchanging presence, when memories are fading, physicality and here-and-now feelings become primal.
– Drago Lai
2006 – BEIRUT, LEBANON
After finishing my VATI program, I started working in a refugee center in Montreal. A few months later I decided to go back home…Lebanon.
VATI had given me a lot of confidence in my skills and my self. I was prepared to face the world with my paint brushes and my home-made play-dough! But nothing could ever prepare me for what was waiting for me at home. A couple of months after I went home, in the summer of 2006, an Israel attack on the South of Lebanon and Beirut suburbs was launched. The war lasted 33 days, but I lasted only 7 days, and I then became a refugee myself. The war flipped my life upside down and inside out. But it has also taught me a great deal on trauma and healing. I couldn’t stay too far for too long and I came back and started working with an NGO as an art therapist in the South of Lebanon. It’s been a life changing experience. I have learned so much from the children I have worked with about resilience and healing. It was amazing to see their art change: paint missiles slowly changed into spring flowers; destroyed homes changed into new homes; messy paint explosions became colorful pictures; and armless children in the art got back their arms as they gained back a sense of control and power.
What has inspired me the most, working with the children of the South, is their hope, their strength, and their playfulness. War for them is not something that happened to them in July 2006. War is part of their culture and their history. It’s all around them. It’s in the stories their parents tell them, it’s on the daily news, it’s in their games and it’s in their art. And yet they can still look at their experience, without being overwhelmed by it. Yes there is a lot of anxiety and a lot of distress, but there is also a lot of hope and a lot of resilience. Art is such a flexible medium that it has helped them tell their unique stories.
VATI has helped me be a respectful witness to those stories. And I would like to thank my VATI teachers and colleagues for being witnesses to my own journey, the journey that has brought me here today.
– Rinade Ballan