International Women’s Day: art therapist helping women unlock talents and express wisdom

International Women’s Day: art therapist helping women unlock talents and express wisdom

ART therapist Iris Whitelock decided to dedicate the rest of her life to helping women unlock their talents and express their wisdom through creativity.

The owner of Art of Life got her qualification in Transpersonal Art Therapy in 2015, after realising the art administration and management work she had done prior to having children did not fulfil her any longer.

Ms Whitelock said she was a bit of a late starter with art, having only personally been involved with it from about age 40, due to a fear she was not a creative person.

“My philosophy now is that creativity is an essential part of being human, and remains a central part of life no matter what physical, mental and emotional trials we undergo,” she said.

“There are qualitative outcomes gained from art therapy which are sometimes unpredictable, however I often see clients becoming more relaxed, mindful and focused, less stressed and joyful with a sense of achievement in creating an artwork; even with those who describe themselves as ‘not artistic’.

“What is really interesting when I (run programs) though is that often (clients) find they have achieved the things or childhood dreams they thought they had however it may have manifested itself in a different way to what they expected.”

For the past month, Ms Whitelock has been running a six week project, Splendiferous Me, as part of 2018 Amana Living Arts Festival at Peter Arney Home in Salter Point.

The project involved decorating a mask with painted surrounds that aimed to help the aged care residents access their unconscious thoughts surrounding their lives and the notion they are not seen any longer by other as they live in a care facility.

Amana Living occupational therapy assistant Antoinette Fisher said it had been wonderful and heart warming watching the residents opening up and expressing their personality and stories.

Art of Life runs various art therapy programs with the next starting in May.

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