Wednesday 9 December 2009

Expressive Arts in Muskoka

Elke Scholz

Elke Scholz is a local artisan. Not only that, she is an Expressive Art Therapist. After a fabulous 6-week course, Elke Scholz guided her precious clients and their gr. 11 volunteer mentors through workshops in which art was integrated with grief work.

For, dealing with grief is work. Work some of us work through all our lives.

Elke held Expressive Arts therapy courses twice a week through the auspices of Hospice Muskoka, for two age groups. She is available, too, for private consultations.  It was my privilege to assist her, and the group throughout the 6-weeks of classes.
What was especially delightful, were the Gr. 11 students from St. Dominic's H.S., part of a larger group taking a mentoring class. They are amazing young people, with big hearts and a special way with their 8 to 10-year old clients.

Two of the students, Lily and Katie, have their own blogs! They are committed, and dedicated volunteers.

We painted, drew, coloured, and used clay over the weeks, integrating grief work with our play. We played games, used instruments, talked about our feelings and emotions either within our small group, or in pairs. 

For privacy reasons, I cannot show you photos of our our group. I can feature a photo of Elke, an attractive, intelligent, caring woman.

I spent one class taking photos of the bottled feelings activity, and another of their hands as they worked with the clay. The full set of photos is available in my Picasa folder. I created a video to explain one of the reasons why we need to unbottle our feelings and let them out. This is a demonstration we participated in at The Hospice Youth Expressive Arts Grief and Loss Recovery Program by Elke Scholz.

The evening was a celebration as we decorated the walls with the paintings we had created, as well as various posters. We had information presentations by two other groups in Muskoka:
1. The Big Brother & Big Sister Muskoka program
2. The YWCA's GirlzUnplugged Program is one for which Muskoka thankfully receives funding. For girls ages 9 to 14, they have a chance to build skills and deal with sensitive issues. Funding has now been extended to boys, too!

The final celebration, Open House evening also included gifts for mentors and myself, as a volunteer, from both Elke and Jim Brown, of Muskoka Bay Pottery. Very kind of these special artists who continually support the community. Jim's gallery hosted Hospice Muskoka's Butterfly Ball
Butterfly Ball last year!

What a special group of kids we have in our midst. Mentors, give yourselves a pat-on-the-back!

For more information on Expressive Art therapy, see
See, also, several YouTube videos explaining other programs.
Hospice news from this past year: Hospice Muskoka Opens a New Palliative Care Room
Art therapy for seniors with dementia


    Lucy said...

    Thank you so much for your wonderful praise about my blog! I am inspired! Your blog on the other hand is always so detailed and your photos stunning! I appreciate the work you do to post this.

    Yogi♪♪♪ said...

    What a wonderful program. Its a healing ministry!

    Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

    What vital and important work!! Love your new header.

    Gaelyn said...

    This is a wonderful program Jenn, and a great way to deal with grief. You do get involved in some awesome things around town. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    eileeninmd said...

    Wonderful post and a great workshop!

    Vagabonde said...

    That sounds like a very worthwhile program. Your header picture is very beautiful but it’s also chilling – it looks quite cold in Muskoka.

    Teena in Toronto said...

    Sounds like a great program!

    I'm here via Canada Blog Friends.

    Michelle B. Hendry said...

    Thanks for sharing that - the video was great....

    This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

    Jenn: So great that you do all the volunteer work that you do.

    rgl said...

    Hi Jenn, it's good to come back for a visit. I will put the URL on my blogroll to make sure that I return more often. I really appreciated this article on using art for therapy.

    Also, hearing about the change of venue for the G20 was good news in my opinion. Take the problems of the G8 out of the countryside and leave them in the city.

    Sandra said...

    (of Hospice Muskoka); It is a priviledge and an honour to host this Expressive Arts Program, to be witness to the growth and healing of the children. We are especially fortunate to have an Expressive Arts Therapist in our community who is so talented, caring and capable as Elke. Of course she can't do it alone, which makes volunteers like Jenn, Mary and the student mentors so valuable.