Tuesday, July 02, 2013
A Colac drug and alcohol counsellor says a therapeutic art course gives clients a chance to tell their story and celebrated successes.

Colac Area Health’s alcohol and drug service’s art therapy project is in its second year, with weekly painting sessions open to people with past or present alcohol or drug issues, as well as their family members.
The six-week course will culminate with an exhibition next Friday, which also coincides with Drug Action Week which starts on Monday.

CAH drug and alcohol services clinician Maude Berry, who is also an artist, leads the classes.
CAH drug and alcohol services co-ordinator Chris Kendall said the nine participants were benefitting from the Department of Health funded project.
“People have the opportunity to put onto canvas how they feel and their stories and what their journey may have been like,” Mr Kendall said.
“It’s also to celebrate the successes that people have achieved in recovery,” he said.
“Everybody is either on the journey at the moment or they have started on the journey of being abstinent from alcohol or drugs.

“It’s been going very well – some people are quite inspired about what they put on canvas and some of the paintings they have been done are very personal for people.”
Mr Kendall said this year’s project wouldn’t have been possible without support from Colac’s Skills Connection, which has agreed to exhibit the paintings in Murray Street’s Studio 92 as part of Drug Action Week, and Colanda which provided space in its OPUS building for classes and equipment storage.

“Both Colanda and Skills Connection saw merit in this kind of activity and the positives it creates in the community,” he said.
“There’s nothing it in for them – it’s purely a gratuitous gesture of goodwill.”
Mr Kendall said the art therapy project received positive feedback and he hoped it would be an annual course.
“The absolutely love it – I’m hoping to make it an annual event,” he said.
“It was very successful last year and it looks like it’s going to be very successful again this year.”

This story courtesy of The Colac Herald