The Benevolent Society will offer art therapy to residents for the first time from early 2022 and is seeking expressions of interest from people who feel they might benefit.
Individual sessions will be held in Gosford, run by art therapist Asoka Whitwell, with group sessions a possibility further down the road.
Whitwell, who has been an artist “forever” has recently completed a Masters in Art Therapy and is eager to share her knowledge.
“I have always used art as a way of exploring my own emotions and have really enjoyed creativity from a very young age,” she said.
“When I was studying for a Bachelor of Fine Arts there was one lecturer who really inspired me.
“He was a psychologist and talked about art therapy – that sparked my interest in a field I hadn’t really known existed.
“Art therapy can help people rediscover a sense of self, bringing hope, healing, empowerment and connection by using creative techniques such as drawing, painting, collage and clay work to explore thoughts and feelings.”
Whitwell said with feelings of isolation experienced by many during COVID lockdowns, it was more important than ever for people to be seen and heard.
“I am passionate about advocating that people have a voice and have a safe space to share, with an opportunity to be supported and rediscover a sense of self, belonging and connection,” she said.
Art therapies can help people to resolve conflicts, develop interpersonal skills, manage behaviour, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and achieve insight.
The art therapy program will be based on referrals and those interested should call 1800 236 762 for details.