Authors: Lisa McDonald
Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Art Therapy as Healing: Bringing Together and Creating Community: “Telling Story” by Accessing First Nation Healing Practices and using those processes as Arts Psychotherapeutic Interventions to raise awareness of Sexual Violence and its impacts.
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Lisa McDonald is an activist, artist and art psychotherapist with a strong interest in sexual violence trauma, neurobiology and First Nation healing practices. She is currently self-employed through Live Live Revolution.
I collaborated with First Nation Women of Quandamooka Country (Redlands, Queensland) by teaching and participating in “Telling Story”, a fibre arts course in which women expressed, through weaving, their past, present and future about the impact of sexual violence on their lives. This course helped to improve the women’s sense of wellbeing and connection with others by:
- Connecting and Preparing: Researching First Nation story-telling practices and fibre arts, and connecting to Quandamooka women, to create a supportive micro community.
- Creating the Art Therapy Space: Creating a culturally supportive space for the participants with multiple areas for participant autonomy, time out and peer to peer sharing.
- Travelling the Pathway to Self in Community: Forming culturally respectful and supportive processes, both as a group and individually. Issues included duty of care, ethics, and culturally appropriate therapeutic processes.
- Reflections: Experiencing the power of fibre arts to harness the generational wisdom of First Nation women helped the participants to understand trauma memory, and to feel seen and heard.
The woven fibre art works of the Quandamooka teachers and participants were shown at an exhibition hosted by Redlands Performing Arts Centre to raise awareness about sexual violence and its impacts.
Learning Objective 1: The audience will gain an understanding of art psychotherapy and knowledge of First Nation wisdom in healing modalities; how we can respectfully recognise and incorporate this into options for mental health clients; build and support communities; and raise awareness of sexual violence in an inclusive way.
Learning Objective 2: Mental health services providers will gain from learning about arts-based, culturally appropriate practices informed by First Nation traditions and philosophy to support and ease the pain and isolation of those suffering mental health trauma arising from sexual violence.
Korff, J 2018, Deep listening (dadirri), Retrieved https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/education/deep-listening-dadirri , Accessed March 2019
Ungunmerr, Miriam-Rose. (2017). Inner Deep Listening and Quiet Still Awareness. EarthSong Journal: Perspectives in Ecology, Spirituality and Education
Vol. 3, No. 4, Autumn 2017: 14-15. Retrieved https://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=732386012034745;res=IELHSS Accessed March 2019