The healing nature of art

Our Stories

The arts is an important part of the work we do at Cottage by the Sea, and we are expanding our offerings in this space by introducing art sessions on our programs. These sessions use art, play, clay and education as experiential activities that help to support the mind-body connection of young people.

We have engaged with Art Therapist Alison Songsaeng to facilitate our art sessions with REEF and Mentor participants over the next 12 months. Alison is an experienced Social Worker and Teacher specialising in Art Therapy and is also a student of Play and Clay Field therapy. Alison is passionate about the evolving word of “education and social sciences”. She places great importance on observing the “whole child” physiologically and psychologically in order to determine if all of their needs are being met and how this influences the child’s play, social interactions, academic abilities and emotional regulation.

Art sessions on Cottage programs

The first art session with Alison and the REEFies focused on neurographic art. This mindful and meditative technique involves drawing freeform lines – called neurolines – which aim to tap into the subconscious mind to stimulate new neural connections. The focus of this session was on using art to cultivate self-reflection and self-regulation so participants can better see, feel, understand and attune with what is happening within them and around them. This art session allowed the REEFies to express themselves creatively on canvas in a safe and supportive space. They created wonderful and varied pieces of art to take home that represented how they were feeling. It was a big hit with the group and helped them to enhance not just their connection with themselves, but their connections with each other.

Alison will be back at Cottage in December for another art session – this will be with our Mentors during their All Mentor program at Cottage. The aim of this upcoming session is to create art that explores their sense of identity. By decorating masks, participants will undertake a process of self-reflection by questioning who they are and who they want to be, and whether things change with or without a mask.

This new art offering wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of philanthropy.