We are so grateful for all the community support we receive from extraordinary organizations and individuals who align with our commitment to serve and safeguard all youth at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness, with absolute respect and unconditional love.
Today, we would like to extend gratitude and gratefulness to the team over at Opus Art Supplies who have generously donated $1,000 towards art supplies for our open art and art therapy programs. Your dedication makes it easier for us to introduce art to young people as a healthy way to express themselves and as a form of healing. Thank you, Opus, for your support over the years and advocating around youth who need it.
Many of the youth that Covenant House Vancouver serves have experienced significant trauma. Building trust can be difficult and this is a challenge that our staff often encounter. Registered Clinical Counsellors create a warm, relaxed, and welcoming space and atmosphere. At many Open Studio sessions, you will smell aromatherapy, see a variety of tea, served with biscuits, cookies, and all sorts of snacks, to welcome the youth passing by. Some may pop their heads in, and others may stay awhile. There is no expectation and youth can come and go in our open art therapy spaces as they please.
Using Art to Heal
Creating art is a powerful part of trauma therapy. It helps youth express their feelings when they cannot find the words or do not want to relive their trauma by retelling their story. The studio space is a place where youth can feel comfortable, safe, build trust, and get familiar with art therapists, counsellors, and their peers.
Creating art with an art therapist makes the therapeutic process more accessible to a lot of youth, as they can express their experiences through creativity. Creating art makes it more accessible for people who might be anxious about therapy and provides an opportunity to focus on the present with someone else in the room. It helps the youth relax, open up, and explore. Their stories come out through their artwork. Then, the therapist and youth take a step back and look at what’s been created.
Covenant House Vancouver has a dedicated art therapy room that hosts a variety of scheduled art therapy classes, usually in one of these three formats:
One-on-One Counselling Art Therapy
An opportunity for youth to heal through working with an art therapist, who guides the young person through their creative process. It’s a place to talk about mental health concerns through creative communication and it’s a safe space to work on trauma and debilitating mental health issues.
Group Focused Art Therapy
This is a closed art therapy group where a small group of youth focus on a particular topic, such as healthy relationships. These sessions run for about 6 to 8 weeks and requires youth to sign up.
Open Studios are a space for creative self-expression and a means of exploring positive, non-traumatic emotions. Youth can also come to Open Studios to get to know our Registered Clinical Counsellors, meet other youth, and experiment with different art materials.
It’s About Being Creative, Not Artistic
Art Therapy is not about being artistic, it’s about being creative. It’s about having a creative outlet for emotional expression. The focus is on the process and not the finished product, with healing happening from the process of creating and not from the finished piece.
Creating art with an art therapist externalizes the trauma, giving youth a different perspective, which can be greatly beneficial. Creating art requires both hemispheres of the brain to work together, which can repair the damage that has been caused by the trauma, which leads to healing.
If you or your organization would like to support Covenant House Vancouver’s art-based programs, these are the items we could use:
- Canvases and canvas boards
- Textiles that would appeal to youth
- Beading supplies
- Acrylic and watercolour paints
- Drawing pens
- A nice teapot, milk jug, sugar bowl, and cups/saucers/mugs (teatime has become a lovely and popular part of the art therapy experience)
Please email Cory at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to arrange a drop off of the donation items listed above.