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Art Therapy Helps Draw Out The Pain Inside

Art Therapy Helps Draw Out The Pain Inside

An introverted, quiet child draws threatening monsters. It turns out he’s being bullied at school. A depressed pensioner paints a weeping heart. She reveals she’s still mourning deeply for the loss of a child she adopted out years ago. Producing these sorts of images, examples of what comes out in art therapy, can help people identify and express the causes of inner turmoil and begin the process of healing.

Waikato University’s Centre for Continuing Education runs a full year part-time art therapy course aimed at people in the helping professions as well as others just starting out or exploring new directions in their lives.

The centre is holding an open day on Saturday 20 September for people interested in art therapy and any members of the public who wish to attend. The open day will be held at the university’s Ruakura satellite campus at 21 Ruakura Rd, Hamilton, from 10am-4pm.

There will be a display of work produced by the class of 2003 and staff will be available to answer questions about art therapy.

Just under 20 people are on the course this year. In 2004, a second year course is also being offered. Continuing education officer Tim Harker stresses that for many who attend, these courses provide an opportunity for personal as well as professional growth.

Art therapy tutor Marnie DeWolf says: “Using art in therapy is very useful for people who, for whatever reason, find it difficult to express problems verbally. “Getting things out on paper or in sculpture is often the way they can start to express difficulties and strong emotions and begin the process of healing.”

The Centre runs both full-year and short courses that provide hands-on learning experiences in the use of art as a therapeutic tool.

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