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Arts therapy in the COVID life
May 25, 2020
The power of art to relieve anxiety or spark a conversation is central to Emerge’s arts therapy team’s philosophy.
It was little wonder that immediately after Victoria went into lockdown to stem the steady spread of coronavirus, that the team of therapists and counsellors went into action to drop off art bags to the women and children living in outreach homes.
Emma, Family Therapist, said that each bag contained basic supplies such as a small visual diary, colouring pencils, and textas.
“We also provided food and care packages to mothers with babies because they simply did not have the time to go out and shop around to get enough nappies, sanitiser, formula or soap so we took it to them,” Emma said.
The response was overwhelming according to Emma.
“They were amazed at how quickly we had reached out to help during a difficult time, and that we have stayed connected with them.”
Many of the families that Emerge supports are from migrant or refugee backgrounds and found the early days confusing and scary.
“It seems another world now but at that time there was a stampede for toilet paper, there was panic, and so it seemed essential to offer practical support as well as the chance for children and their mums to escape into the world of art,” Emma said.
She paid tribute to Emerge’s team of case managers and therapists who supported the women and connected them with coordinating services.
“All this was done while trying to manage their own work-life-family stresses and isolation,” she said.
The team is now in the process of transitioning the arts therapy program to tele-practice. Emerge wants to offer the on-line program to individuals until such as time that clients can return to Emerge’s office for therapy.
Emma said that the on-line program combined with face-to-face therapy would enable the organisation to extend its arts therapy reach considerably.