Gabriolans fighting cancer can release stress and fear during an upcoming art therapy program.
The Art-Based Cancer Support Group is offered through the Gabriola Arts Council.
The group is meant to be a safe place where people who have had cancer or are battling the disease can share their experiences. It also aims at reducing stress, anxiety, fear and isolation and allows people to have fun. All ages are welcome to attend the free program; however, people must pre-register. Donations are accepted. Currently, because of funding, the program is only open to Gabriola residents.
“The main impact is they felt supported and didn’t feel isolated,” said art therapist Liz McKnight. “The group part is something you can’t replicate any other way.”
The group is co-taught by McKnight and Jaki Deer. McKnight is a registered art therapist and has worked with a variety of people over the last 28 years. Deer has been a counsellor for nearly 25 years.
McKnight said the creative process helps “improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals.” It can also help increase self-esteem and self-awareness.
Deer said participants range in ages, but the battle against cancer unites them.
“The common ground is what they have been through, is cancer, it just melts away the ages,” she said.
The program attracts a core group of participants but there are always about one or two new clients.
McKnight says using art in therapy connects all parts of the brain and allows people to express thoughts and feelings they can’t put into words.
The six-week program runs from Nov.1 to Dec. 6, 2:30-5 p.m. at the Gabriola Women’s Institute Hall, located at 476 South Road.
For more information or to register, please call McKnight at 250-713-8857 or e-mail email@example.com.