After graduating from the University of Alberta in 2007 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting, Jessica Delorme, like many artists, was unsure of how to make ends meet while successfully navigating the art-world.
“After leaving the bubble of art school and struggling to pay the bills, I felt like I lost the purity of my art making practice,” Jessica said. “I wanted to reconnect with my initial intention to help people through art.”
While feeling stuck and needing to move her life in a new direction, Jessica discovered the Expressive Arts Program run by Heather Dawson. “Meeting Heather, and becoming aware of her program and the work of Expressive Arts Therapy felt like the right next step. I truly felt called to the work.”
Jessica graduated from the Vancouver Expressive Arts Program in 2012 and the Master’s in Expressive Arts Therapy from the European Graduate School in 2014. “My favorite part of studying Expressive Arts was the experiential nature of the work. In order to learn the method we were expected to be client participants in many of the workshops,” Jessica said.
Within the program, students learn to use all mediums of art. “I appreciated the surprises I found in experimenting with movement, theatre, writing and eventually with stepping into the important role as therapist,” Jessica said.
“I got so much from the training. There is a beautiful balance of hands on learning and theory worked into every workshop and I felt mentored by the program staff the entire way.”
Jessica now works as a full time counsellor with all ages in a small First Nation’s community using Expressive Arts Therapy as her primary counselling method. She is also developing a small private practice doing individual and group Expressive Arts Therapy.
A common misconception about Expressive Arts Therapy is that many believe the work is mainly for children. “I work mostly with adults and can attest to the method’s flexibility and effectiveness with supporting diverse ages and populations,” Jessica said.
“Experiential counselling like this is incredibly powerful. People can get so stuck in thinking and thinking and thinking, this work brings the body back into the session through engaging the senses. It can be incredibly helpful, and healing.”
“I have grown so immensely through doing this work. I have leaned how to better take care of myself and have developed the skill of noticing and nourishing resources in people. I’ve adopted the Expressive Arts phrase ‘Trust the Process’ and am looking forward to continuing to trust my process as an Expressive Arts Therapist and mentor for students for years to come.”
The Expressive Arts Program at the Vancouver School of Expressive Arts Therapy commences in September 2016 and enrolments are now open.
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