A strip of different artistic images including: 1. Orange coloured pastel drawing of white love hearts with lines radiating from them. 2. Photograph of handmade calico doll with green, white and red  paint on it. 3. Green and white pastel and pencil drawing. 4. Paper collage with of orange and brown love hearts with silver radiating lines surrounding them on orange handmade textured paper. © all images by Natalya Garden-Thompson, 2016

Creative Vitality offers artistic experiences and therapeutic inquiry for individuals and groups in the community.

Accessible and inclusive approaches are adapted that require no prior art experience.

The process of art making is beneficial for wellbeing. It is a mindful activity – bringing the maker into the present moment. 

The arts are a powerful tool for expression and communication – providing people with an opportunity to generate their own meanings and choices about how they want to live their lives. 

Creative Arts Therapy individual consultations, group workshops, promotional work, networking groups and outreach work are all available.

Able to companion toddlers, children, adolescents, young adults, older adults and those with/experiencing:

  • Intellectual and Physical Disability (ages 18 months to 90 years)
  • Family Relationships
  • Complex needs
  • Acquired Brain Injury
  • Alcohol and other Drug recovery
  • Trauma 
  • Creative Stuckness (applicable to work, career, arts making, life-living)
  • Women's specific (rites of passage including menarche, pregnancy, motherhood as well as fertility and gynaecological issues)
  • Corporate Groups (business development, team work, values and strengths development)

Please use the contact form to enquire about other possible applications or a specific interest you may have for utilising Creative Arts Therapy. 

Accessible, Inclusive, Community, All Abilities, Arts for Wellbeing, Arts for Health, Arts for Recovery & Resilience, Collaborative, Curious.

Live painting, “Silhouettes, Inside Outside” performance at fortyfivedownstairs, 2015  © Shadowzone Photograph.   Photograph of Natalya Garden-Thompson painting on a large suspended material  with light behind it creating shadows of musicians playing. She is painting the musicians as they play using black paint.

Practitioner BIO

Natalya Garden-Thompson (MA ECAP, BA Vis Arts) is a Registered Creative Arts Therapist (ANZATA) and Community Artist. She is the Organiser of GRAT (Group of Registered Regional Arts Therapists), a professional development group.

Natalya knew she wanted to live a creative life from a young age and that it would involve collaborating with others. After obtaining a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 2004 from Southern Cross University (with a focus on contemporary drawing, printmaking and installation) she was awarded the Kaske Fellowship and travelled to both Tasmania and Japan studying hand papermaking.

Living through the aftermath of the Black Saturday Bushfires of 2009, Natalya wanted to contribute to the community recovery process using art. She was inspired to study Creative Arts Therapy at the MIECAT Institute. As part of her Masters Degree she completed an arts based research project inquiring into Visual and Fine Art Graduate’s Experiences’ of “Creative Stuckness”.

A strip of different artistic images including: 1. Paper collage of green and light brown leaves on green silk paper background. 2. Pastel and pencil drawing of dark and light green and white plants. 3. Orange pastel drawing with a white heart with radiating lines. © all images by Natalya Garden-Thompson, 2016

Experiential training and community placement provided her with the experience and tools to share creative processes in a range of settings with people of all ages and abilities.

Significant moments include: using creative arts therapy to support children and families experiencing complex intergenerational trauma, family violence and child protection involvement; companioning a young child on the autism spectrum; leading a play group for children with disability; facilitating/supporting community arts workshops in which children, youth and adults explored their life stories (including those living with disabilities and survivors of the Black Saturday bush fires); offering weekly Creative Arts Therapy Workshops to adults living with mental health and wellness issues, acquired brain injury, dementia, alcohol and other drug dependency, intellectual and physical disability.

Significant experiences have included facilitating a workshop on International Women’s Day for Mitchell Shire Council, a workshop for young people as part of the "My Place" program for Moonee Valley Shire Youth Services and a resilience workshop for a Women’s Wellbeing Group in Wandong. 

Selected positions:

  • Anglicare Victoria, Family Services Therapist
  • EACH (Eastern Access Community Health), Arts Therapist
  •  Arts Access Australia, SRS Studio Program, Support Artist
  • Wild@HeART Community Arts, Lead Artist & Support Artist
  • MyTime, Children’s Play Helper
  • Whittlesea Community House, Community Artist & Facilitator
  • Into the Light Project, Community Artist

A strip of different artistic images including: 1. Pastel, brown, yellow and green chalk pastel and ink abstract drawing. 2. Light and dark mud drawing on white paper of a plant. 3. Children's vibrant felt tip pen drawing of a cat with two kittens on it's back and a sun in the sky. 4. Digital print of a etching print of a plant with white stems, green leaves and a brown background.        © all images by Natalya Garden-Thompson, 2016

Personal BIO

Natalya is located in central regional Victoria with her baby, child and devoted partner who share her passion for playing in the Australian bush whether bushwalking, mountain biking or simply bearing witness to the magnificence of nature.

She makes multi modal artworks and journals for her own wellbeing, reflection and as a way of responding to the world and its inhabitants. She holds this ideal strongly:

“It is imperative that an art therapist first be an artist” (Bruce Moon, 1999).

Head over to www.creativenatalya.com for more information about and images of Natalya personal arts practice.

Natalya acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land and the custodians of the central western victoria region, the Jaara people of the Dja Dja Wurrung, one of the five Wurrungs of the Kulin Nation. She offers her respect to the Elders and all Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island people. The words on this website are written by a white Australian woman who is a continual process of learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culture.