An Artist in a Doctors’ World

Natalie Rahr - Student Story

Dr Natalie Rahr Natropathy and Expressive Arts.jpg

Dr Natalie Rahr, ND said that coming to expressive arts therapy was a personal endeavour for her. With a Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, a doctorate in naturopathic medicine and an established private practice in Vancouver, Natalie was looking for an experience that would fulfil and nurture her creative right brain.

“I knew that there was an artistic side of me that had always been interrupted or suppressed. I just never had the opportunity to create anything for the sake of making. I never knew it was a valid thing to do until recently,” Natalie said.

Despite being pushed towards the sciences, Natalie moved to Boston after graduating from biochemistry to work as an art teacher at an international school for kids on the autism spectrum. She said, “It was challenging work and meant a mixture of neurobehavioral support, fine motor skills and life skills.” Natalie marks this as her most formative experience in her journey towards Expressive Arts Therapy.

Natalie moved to Vancouver in 2004, where she continued her work with children on the spectrum with the Vancouver School Board before developing an interest in more ancient and holistic healing practices. “I travelled to India, Nepal, Tibet, Europe - places where you’re exposed to far different ways of healing and seeing the body, mind and spirit,” Natalie said.

She dived head on into naturopathic medicine but found it to be more medically minded than she expected. “I decided to use my naturopathic work to explore ancient healing modalities and energetics,” Natalie said.

At this point her careers began to intertwine, “in my naturopathic world I treat kids who are on the spectrum biomedically,” Natalie said. Knowing sooner or later that she would need to fulfil her expressive side, Natalie began exploring her options. Soon after discovering the Expressive Arts Therapy program at VSEAT, enrolled and started class.

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“My favourite part of expressive arts is going in feeling blind and leading from my body, heart and core instead of my head. After all these years of being trained to trust in a specific scientific way, learning a system of theory that is intuition based is a whole other experience,” Natalie said. “In the science programs I felt like I was the artist in a doctor’s world. Now I feel like the doctor in an artist's world!

Natalie is primarily interested in working with adults in group settings and is particularly drawn to working with women.

“In my practice I see a lot of women going through transitions: into motherhood, out of motherhood, post menopause. After decades of service to your family, how do you reclaim who you are and find your true identity? How do you pick up a paintbrush and create something you’ve been longing to create for decades? Expressive Arts is helping me weave so much together so I can bring it to the people I already serve.”

After graduating, Natelie is looking forward continuing to weave the threads of her experiences together; she will be opening a new office for her private practice on March 1st and plans to continue her studies at the European Graduate School as a PhD candidate.