Creative therapy

PICTURE: Despina Weston at work in her Toodyay studio.
PICTURE: Despina Weston at work in her Toodyay studio.

Psychotherapist and counsellor Despina Weston, who has been assisting patients from her Art Therapy Studio in Toodyay for almost a year, said art therapy adopted a holistic approach and focused on the art-making process as therapeutic in and of itself.

She said it was a particularly effective tool to access inner resources and strengths and could include work with paints, pastels, clay and musical instruments.

‘Art making at the studio is a wellness practice,’ she said.

‘It has really taken off in the Avon Valley and Perth Hills.

‘I think it’s so popular because there is a general lack of accessible services here.’

Dr Weston also provides individual, |couple and family therapy, counselling and psychotherapy.

She has patients from all across the Wheatbelt and from as far away |as Fremantle, and said people did not need to be artistic to benefit from art therapy.

The first hurdle for prospective patients was the mental block constructed that says ‘but I can’t draw’.

But ‘creativity is not the exclusive domain of artists; it belongs to all of us,’ Dr Weston said.

‘Making art from within is a replenishing, invigorating and a health-giving process.’

Non-profit organisation Carers WA last month sub-contracted Dr Weston to provide counselling services for carers across the Avon and Perth Hills regions.

‘I’m here to support carers in their role,’ she said.

‘It is hugely valuable for them to do art therapy. It gives them a chance to find themselves again and have some fun.’

Dr Weston’s Toodyay Art Therapy Studio, in Stirling Terrace, will celebrate its first birthday with a special open day on May 5.

It will feature art works by many of her adult and child patients.

For more information, call Dr Weston on 9574 4328, 0435 121 058 or visit |despinatherapy.com.au.