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What does Art Therapy look like at Covenant House Vancouver?

Dr. Keith Thurlow Bishop and Sabrina Yau run our Art Therapy program. Both are Registered Clinical Counsellors and Professional Art Therapists. Dr. Keith has his PhD in Expressive Arts Therapy and Sabrina has her Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology: Art Therapy.

The Program is also supported by Postgraduate Practicum Students from Adler University.

Why do we do Art Therapy with the youth?

Sabrina shares her insight:

“In my training, counselling psychology and art therapy were taught as one modality. Thus, there was no separation between ‘talk therapy’ and ‘art therapy’ – every course inter-weaved both. There are moments in every session where talking develops into creative art making and vice versa. The main philosophy behind this way of practicing is that the process of making art in and of itself is therapeutic. As such, it becomes an integral part of our sessions.

“My training was specifically in the fine arts and how to integrate that into a therapeutic arts practice. This has shown me the healing potential of art making that I strive to share with each of our youth.”

How we’ve adapted the program during the COVID-19 pandemic

We offer Art Therapy throughout all our program services. However, due to the current pandemic, the Clinical Counsellors had to shift their practice to using secure virtual platforms to connect with our youth: 

  • We’ve made videos as virtual “Open Studios” and shared them with the youth in each of our residential programs. Youth workers facilitate these videos and make them part of their weekly activities with youth

  • We also facilitate live two-hour Open Studio sessions each week. Dr. Keith hosts these livestream sessions and youth and youth workers join him in a shared space within Covenant House Vancouver

  • We’ve created Individual Art Therapy Kits and delivered them to our youth so that they can continue to engage in the healing process alongside our clinical counsellors and art therapists.  

You can support this program, and other programs at Covenant House Vancouver, by browsing and donating supplies from our Online Wishlist. This list contains our most-needed items to provide youth with the love and support they need.