Julia initially trained and worked as a primary school teacher before re-training as an Arts Therapist. As a registered Arts Therapist with a keen interest in the power of creativity to develop confidence and foster social skills in young children.
Over the past two years Julia has lead art therapy groups for children on the autistic spectrum and global developmental delay through the organisation DTNZ (Dance Therapy New Zealand). Previously she worked as an arts therapist at Glowkids Conductive education and Carlson School for Cerebral Palsy. Currently her interest is in working with children with anxiety and social issues using art and sand tray therapy to develop confidence, resilience and self-efficacy.
In addition to her private practice she co-facilitates parent workshops in Auckland for parents, teachers and support staff on effective ways to relate to children using art and dance therapy techniques.
Julia also is part of the APTE (Arts & Play Therapy in Education) team www.apte.org.nz, a developing not for profit organisation that seeks to support the mental, emotional and social health of vulnerable young New Zealanders in primary schools in Auckland through the arts therapies.
Art is often the natural language of children
Children can benefit from arts therapy if they have the following behaviours:
- Separation anxiety
- School refusal
- Defiant, disruptive or oppositional
- Inattentive, anxious and or/trouble
- Poor concentration or hyper-vigilance
- Depressed, sad, lonely or withdrawn
- Lack of confidence and poor self-esteem
The primary focus of therapy is to first establish a positive therapeutic rapport with the child so that they feel happy, safe, and understood. As art is the often the natural language of children, many children feel greatly at ease knowing that they can express themselves through the art materials, particularly if speaking about their problems is difficult for them. The sessions are predominantly child-lead which gives children power of their own process in a fun, safe and dynamic space with many enticing materials at their disposal.
There is funding available for therapy as the creative arts are recognised as a treatment modality for people who are eligible for counselling under the Disability Allowance. If it is decided that the child may require counselling, a disability certificate counselling form will need to be completed by the child’s General Practitioner.
Parents of the children who attend arts therapy often comment on how their children look forward to art therapy sessions. Establishing a fun, open and friendly atmosphere enables children to fully embrace the therapeutic process and gain the most they can out of therapy.