Therapy workshops for children

Clinical arts therapist Cass Hendry, who will run the workshops, has been working in the health and disability sector for over 20 years.


An inaugural series of art therapy community workshops aimed at helping children cope with stress, particularly as it relates to Covid-19 changes, will be held in Cambridge and Te Awamutu this month.

Assuming Covid-19 alert levels remain workable, two hour-long workshops will take place at the Cambridge Library in Wilson St on Saturday, September 19, and at Te Awamutu the following Saturday, September 26. August 29. One for children aged 5-7 will start at 9.45am; another for youngsters aged 8-12 will start at 11.30am. A fee is payable and registration is essential.

Both are supported by Waipā District Council’s Creative Waipā, and will be run by Cass Hendry, a registered clinical arts therapist who works towards positive mental health for New Zealanders of all ages.

Clinical art therapy is relatively new to New Zealand.

“It is well-established internationally, and is ideal for those who want to self-improve, who may be facing issues in their environment or with their thought patterns,” Cass said. “It suits anyone from aged three upwards. In the case of children, it can be helpful in giving them greater awareness of their situation and can lead them to making choices that work for them.”

Cass, who lives in Kihikihi and has a masters’ qualification in clinical arts therapy, moved into the field after deciding the life of a professional artist wasn’t for her. She read a piece on art therapy and found the visual art/therapy combination appealing, then embarked upon years of study.

“The main thing for me is that someone comes on a journey with me. I let the person doing the therapy lead me; I let them decide what they need to do at a pace they can handle.”

The journey through Covid-19 has left many children feeling uncertain and fearful, confused about the constant bombardment of information around illness and even death, she said. “A lot of parents find it difficult to talk to their kids about it. These art therapy sessions give the children an opportunity to express their concerns, to tell their story through the art in a different environment.”

More information on the workshops, and registration, is through Dee Atkinson at dee.atkinson@waipadc.govt.nz.

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