Art Therapist Rebekah Popescu is working with young people in the north to help them express what words are difficult to convey.
Using creative arts-based processes, Rebekah is supporting new mums to externalise thoughts and feelings, and build self-esteem and confidence.
The group therapy, which began this week as part of Centacare’s Kids in Focus and Making Moments programs, offers a new approach to emotional healing from trauma.
“Art therapy provides people with a safe and creative way of approaching problems in their life which they might be otherwise unable to problem solve,” Rebekah said.
“Often people who have gone through unimaginable hardships find it difficult to externalise the way they are feeling in words, but expressing it through the art helps them to find a new narrative for their story and see their problems in a new light.
“Once they see it on paper, they have a reference point, so they can then turn it around and look at it from another perspective. The unconscious thoughts and feelings are then given a voice.
“If a client can hold a brush or draw a simple stick figure, they require no more skill than that.
“It’s not about making a beautiful piece of artwork; there’s no focus on that at all. The client interprets their own work and I support them to gain insight into themselves and their own story.”
Rebekah discovered art therapy as part of her own recovery from a traumatic experience while living overseas.
Inspired to help others, she put a successful career in media and advertising on hold to study art
therapy at the Ikon Institute of Australia. She has since worked with adults with acquired brain injury, mental health challenges and life threatening illness.
“I’m excited about potentially being able to make a difference in these mums’ lives.
“Self-esteem is at the core of being able to live a healthy and well-integrated life.
“I know I can’t change their world in a short space of time – or ever – but I hope I can help them feel more empowered and give them some new tools to help navigate their lives with confidence.”
*Rebekah’s work is being highlighted as part of National Child Protection Week, September 4-10. This year, the campaign invites all Australians to play their part to promote the safety and wellbeing of children and young people by building stronger communities.