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Art Therapy


  In 1991 I graduated from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Costume Design and Construction. In 1992 I entered the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute and went on to complete my Graduate Level Diploma in Art Therapy, completing my thesis work at BC Children's Hospital. After graduation I started my private practice, but continued my studies in grief and loss, horticultural therapy and exploring the creative process through my own fiction writing. 25 years later I have continued on with my learning now dipping my toes into the social media and publishing end of my writing and as I step into this new decade I am excited to see where my work is going to take me and who, after more than two decades will knock on my door.   

What Materials Do I Use?

  In sessions there are many different art mediums which the client can use. Traditional mediums including paint, pastels, and clay are still common but with my diverse background I also include working with textiles, plant based materials and creative writing projects.  

   It is important to remember there is no previous art or creative experience necessary to do art therapy, the goal is to use the creative process to help you work help you find a solution to the challenge that brought you to see me.

How Long is a Session?
My sessions run on a 50 minute therapeutic hour, with ten minutes built in for clean-up or session over-run. 

  The benefits of art therapy vary depending on the goals set by the client. In most cases the art gives people a chance to express themselves using a creative outlet where the outcome is not about the product but about the process. There are circumstances however where the completion of certain projects become an essential part of the client’s therapeutic journey and healing. I know this first hand, as when I finished my first and second novel the first few edits were very reflective of my creative process but later developed into finished products which I published.

More Information
There is a lot of information available about Art Therapy online but please be cautious about where you source out your information. The  BC Art Therapy Association and the Canadian Art Therapy Association are also two very good resources for people wanting to learn more about the profession and what educational institutes are available in Canada.

Michelle Oucharek-Deo, BFA, BCATR, RCAT, Registered Art Therapist 

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