News & Events

Play is therapy as Susi knows only too well

September 5, 2022

The chance to ‘play,’ create a vegetable garden and spend time with mothers and their children is proving the ideal for job for Susi, a therapeutic practitioner at Emerge.

She is breaking new ground at the organisation as the first therapeutic practitioner to be based primarily at refuge. She is not only immersed in the therapeutic support that Emerge offers, but also works closely with the case managers and enjoys being a part of both teams.

Susi has a Masters in Art Therapy and is trained in play therapy, and provides talk based counselling and therapy.

Before coming to Emerge, Susi concentrated on her art therapy work, supporting adults recovering from addictions and children who had experienced trauma; and in a private hospital. She started working with women who had experienced family violence while on placement at the Royal Women’s Hospital.

There is no such thing as a typical day for Susi at the refuge. Her week is varied and includes play therapy with young people, mothers and their children, as well as one on one art therapy with Emerge’s clients.

And then there is working with her colleagues to run afterschool programs, or spending time with the therapy animals, writing up notes, watering her desk plants and coordinating support for families as they leave refuge.

“The experiences that these women and children have had are harrowing, but I feel thankful to be able to provide therapeutic support. It’s an amazing feeling to see families benefit, and to have made an impact on their lives” Susi said.

There is much to look forward to, according to Susi.

“Creating a herb and veggie garden at the refuge is going to be wonderful for everyone,” she said.

An avid gardener herself, as well as an optimist, Susi is hopeful that the veggie garden will offer a sense of growth and community.

“When the women here come together, so much joy happens. Gardening lets everyone escape from their daily worries. I am looking forward to picking veggies and herbs and enjoying the meals that are created.”

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