Allison Hunter has had a wide-ranging career as an actor, massage practitioner, yoga teacher and now as a certified expressive arts therapist.
“I’ve always craved creativity,” Allison said. “The link for me is the way that all of these practices move things in the body. Whether I was massaging or acting, it all came from the same place: having a heightened body awareness, breathing, playing, and surrendering to an alternate universe.”
Allison runs a Prenatal Group through the Women’s Centre in Whistler where she incorporates expressive arts to help women nourish themselves and their babies.
“It started off as yoga, breathing and meditation and has moved into a gathering where pregnant women can develop a community and tune into their own impulses using tools like journaling, movement and photography,” Allison said.
Living on a lake in Whistler with her partner and 3-year-old daughter, nature plays a big part in Allison’s life.
“I love connecting to the beauty and mystery of the natural world. There is so much you can play with in nature and there are art materials and stories everywhere. Art, nature and play are so important to the development and well being of children (and adults) and I think people are starting to realise this. It’s an exciting time to be here with this work,” she said.
Allison first experienced the power of nature in EXA while on a practicum in a school on a First Nations reserve in Mount Currie as part of the Expressive Arts Therapy Program at VSEAT.
“I was working with teenaged girls and we went outside a lot. When we’d leave the school building I’d notice that their postures would often change, and their breath would expand. When you’re in school, feeling pressure to get things done, going outside can feel like a clean slate. It allows you to engage all the senses – colours, smells, touch. It opens up a whole new world.”
Drawing from her experiences in the Expressive Arts Therapy Program and from her diverse portfolio of work, Allison will be assisting throughout the September 2017 intake at VSEAT while she completes her masters degree at the European Graduate School.
“My advice for new students is to realise how important your instincts are, pay attention to your own impulses, and get to know what brings you nourishment. Allow yourself to soak up the experience. Get comfortable and relax into the ‘not-knowing’.”