What a large gap there has been since I launched this new webpage and now. I thought it was time to get a bit more up to date (now that I have a three year old and a newborn at home). So here goes...
In late 2016 I had the opportunity to do some fee-for-service work an Arts Therapist with Anglicare Victoria in Maryborough. Soon after I applied for a position the organisation were advertising in their Family Services Therapy Team in Bendigo. I was successful and was appointed a position as a therapist in both Bendigo and Maryborough sites. This has seen me supporting children, youth and families living with complex experiences. I hold the space using creative arts therapy to assist them navigate trauma, life obstacles and make sense of what matters.
As well as working with and alongside Family Workers, I offer individual therapy sessions and family sessions both in the home, in our consulting rooms (play therapy, sensory room, art shed) and in outreach settings. I also co-facilitate groups including Parenting through Play, Emotional Wellness and Emotional Wellness for Teens.
This has been the most enriching, challenging and rewarding work I have done to date as a Creative Arts Therapist. In this role it is vital that I maintain regular individual and peer supervision. I am blessed to have an amazing supervisor, team leader, manager and colleagues. We have stayed true to the St Luke's legacy (Anglicare Bendigo was previously St Luke's) and have a strong strengths based focus. We also have great scope to practise creative ways in both our work with families and in supervision.
Earlier this year I created an artwork in an Arts Based Reflection session with my team. It explores my experience of working with families impacted by family violence, poverty, sexual abuse, environmental neglect and intergenerational trauma. Within the chaos there are many moments of clarity and hope. A heart shaped box filled with cotton wool provides a safe space for reflection, expression and change. There is resilience and optimism despite the pain, uncertainty, risk and struggle.
In the past I have been very public with documenting and sharing my practice but in this role I have opted to create a contained space for my experiences of companioning. The reasons for this are because I am working for another organisation, the content of the therapeutic work is complex and I need to create distance from it during my own time for self care.
The artwork I have created below is something that I feel comfortable with sharing as it my creation (as opposed to someone I am companioning/a client) and it is based on my experience. It is how I have come to make sense of how I am in my role as therapist, especially in the moment I enter the private homes of the families I work with. Here I question: what is my privilege as I enter these spaces; how do I go about bracketing out my own values around domesticity; how do I imagine these private spaces as installations; how do I respond to the families living rooms as being spaces for our therapeutic work; what stands out as significant and what do I chose to respond to?
It feels timely to share this as I have been on maternity leave from work (thus more time to reflect on practice) and have experienced many different services (e.g. dom midwifes, maternal health) and visitors entering my home because I have a newborn baby. I have been aware of my mixed emotions in response to having home visits and it has made me think more about what it must be like for the families I visit at home. Furthermore I ponder what it is like for me to be the "client" and what I value in the support I am being offered, especially in my role as mother.