The Art4Wellbeing Program

The Art4Wellbeing Program is a twelve-week program designed to help those who suffer from depressive disorders and offer an alternative form of therapy, in a fun environment, that can be used safely in conjunction with medication, or without medication. The program consists of twelve two-hour art-making workshops along with take home art activities. The sessions are carefully facilitated to include the Art for Wellbeing model of the Creative Process Cycle and participants are taught over the twelve weeks to incorporate the model into their everyday lives as a way of healing and moving forward in life.

The program is considered ideally for groups of twelve individuals who suffer from anxiety and depressive disorders, to attend the two-hour workshops each week for twelve weeks. Both the group aspect and the repetitive element are deliberately included in this program for their relative reasons. Quite often, when people suffer from a depressive disorder they may be financially restricted or emotionally exhausted, leading to increased social exclusion and consequently, exacerbated depression. It is well documented that social exclusion is a major factor in depressive disorders and for this reason the group aspect proves beneficial, as participants are able to meet others who face similar challenges and can therefore provide emotional support through understanding and social connectedness with others who understand what they are going through. The meeting every week for twelve weeks enables that regular social connectedness and increased feeling of social inclusion.

The repetitive nature of meeting each week to do art making as a group, as well as having art activities to continue with independently between group art workshops, allows for art making to become somewhat habitual. Taking note of re-emerging themes in the artworks can lead to new ways of seeing issues in everyday life, and new ways of expressing and dealing with associated emotions. Further, the meditative characteristics of the act of creating allow for the mind to be fully present in the moment, which can result in positive emotional, cognitive and behavioural transformation. With a qualified Art for Wellbeing facilitator, participants are encouraged to be their own healers and are guided toward new emotional meaning creation and new interpretation of themselves and their social world.

The Art4Wellbeing program is exceptional value at $2,700 for twelve participants to attend twelve two-hour art sessions, with each participant receiving an art pack worth $60. The investment includes twenty-four hours of quality Art for Wellbeing facilitation and all materials. Ideally, any organisations that have clients who suffer from depression at any level are encouraged to offer the Art for Wellbeing program to their clients. A venue would need to be provided by your organization. The Art for Wellbeing facilitator is highly skilled and knowledgeable in art and the creative process, and has a good psychological understanding of human development, emotion and motivation, personality theories and assessment, and counseling and art therapy theories and practices. While these understandings enable the facilitator to offer counseling throughout the session, it is preferred there is access to counseling services provided through your organization, as this would be beneficial should participants feel they need ongoing counseling in the case that uncomfortable emotions arise from what is explored in the art sessions and in the home art activities. Please contact us if you require more information, or to book the Art4Wellbeing program for your organization’s clients.

‘Blue Me’ by Lisa Davis.  A self-portrait painted on cardboard with a scrunched ball of paper dipped in acrylic paint, then cut into sections and re-assembled.

‘Self-Portrait’ by Lisa Davis is an emotional portrait representing both inner-light and darkness, painted as a response to feelings of isolation and loneliness during a difficult time in the artist’s life.