Art therapy is one of the ways that we support children and young people with complex disability to reach their goals, express themselves and have fun.
We sat down with our talented Art Therapist Charlie to understand what inspired her to pursue art therapy, how she supports children and young people and more.
Q: When did you know that you wanted to be an Art Therapist?
A: When I was in my undergraduate degree in university, I started investigating and creating disability inclusive interactive artworks. Studying both fine arts and psychology inspired me to investigate art-based therapeutic support and I was lucky enough to find out about art therapy! Instantly I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my career.
Q: Did you always want to work with children with disability?
A: I always knew I wanted to work with children, I started when I was 17 and have not looked back. When I started university I began supporting adults with disability and transitioned to supporting children once I had some experience within the field.
Q: How can Art Therapy support children with disability?
A: Art therapy can support children with disability by expanding their creative exploration and expression, sensory investigation and regulation and it can have a positive impact on both mental and physical health. Art therapy is a supportive avenue for the expression and exploration of unsaid emotions and behaviours.
Q: What are your favourite mediums to use during an Art Therapy session?
A: My favourite medium to use in session is acrylic paint or poser paint. I find the fluidity of the medium so inclusive and it can easily be adapted to support many different people. I also love making sensory materials out of everyday objects.
Q: Are there any special adaptive tools that you use during a session?
A: I adjust all my therapy materials based on each client’s needs, but I have a few beautiful adaptive tools such as grip assistors, easy grip paint sticks, brushes and sensory tools.
Q: Do you work with other therapists such as OTs?
A: I work closely alongside all of the therapists within the team, gaining inspiration and supporting goals with our OT’s, Speech Pathologists, Physios and our Music Therapist. At Xavier Place, Becca our registered Music Therapist and I collaborate to form our creative arts therapy.
Q: What might a typical work day look like for you?
A: A typical community workday for me is travelling between clinic and client’s homes bringing my trolley of art materials with me. At Xavier Place I work alongside our support team exploring painting, sensory materials, drawing mediums and all sorts of creative mess. Ending with a good cleanse of all the art therapy materials ready for the next day of fun.
Q: Where do you find inspiration for Art Therapy sessions?
A: I gain most of my inspiration from the children I support. Children are innately creative so the majority of my therapeutic ideas will form within sessions or in conversation with children. I love basing art therapy directives off children’s interests and imagination.
Q: What do you love most about your job?
A: I absolutely love seeing clients exploring new art materials within session, seeing them grow from one material to another makes my heart leap.
Charlie currently has availability to support more children and young people in Brisbane South.
To find out more, simply complete the enquiry form on our art therapy page and we will be in touch.