Hello! My name is Kayla (she/her). I am a somatic expressive arts therapist (in training) with over ten years of counselling and facilitation experience in diverse supportive environments. I am currently a pre-licensed practitioner: a senior student completing course requirements for a post-graduate Diploma in Expressive Arts Therapy. I am also a student in the Somatic Experiencing Professional Training Program.
While we live among tremendous beauty, we also experience hardship and trauma. Along with unforeseen events, I believe trauma is due to internalizing ways-of-surviving within the inequities of a colonial and capitalist society. Trauma disconnects us—from our bodies, other beings, and the present moment. Through partnering expressive arts therapy with somatic experiencing, my practice seeks to support a creative reconnection to our senses of safety, vitality, presence, and pleasure. Together we will imagine new possibilities while easing patterns which were adaptive during traumatic experiences, and may no longer be supportive in the here-and-now.
I use a flexible approach to therapy which is relational, experiential, resource-based and embodied. Through somatic expressive arts therapy, I invite you to explore mindfulness, gentle body awareness, imagination, and attunement to the art making process through a variety of modalities (such as visual art, movement, sound/music, voice, writing, and storytelling) in order to open up space to expand our creative resiliency. No previous therapy, mindfulness, or artistic experience is required. Through partnering embodied and reflective creative process within a supportive therapeutic relationship, we can deepen awareness of ourselves in the present moment, increasing access to our resources for healthy connection, discovering possibilities for positive change, and processing past narratives and memories with greater ease and clarity.
As an expressive arts therapist, I value:
presence: I bring curiosity to the potential of each moment we share while dialoguing or creating art together. Just as our breath, a painting, or a dance emerges, I believe we are always in processes of growth and transformation. I value slowness, taking time to connect, and accessing wisdom through orienting to nature and our felt experience.
relationship: I value the importance of cultivating supportive and trusting relationships when navigating our challenges, vulnerabilities, and dreams. In my role, I hold space for embodied empathy, listening, and accountability. I believe safe-enough connection is at the heart of healing.
healing-centred care: I have walked with survivors of trauma and complex trauma throughout my career. As we work together, I will take the time you need to build trust and a safe-enough space through listening, sensitivity, and offering abundant choice at all times (including the choice to say no). I believe my role is to be a collaborative and empowering ally who supports you to enact your boundaries and needs.
embodiment: I believe fully in our embodied potential for healing trauma and accessing vitality and ease, especially when we compassionately give our body the space and time it needs to settle. As we explore arts-based practices together, I will support you to listen more to the wisdom of your sensory experience, believing this is abundantly important for easing trauma responses and accessing openings for safety, pleasure, and connection.
cultural-competence: I have learned from individuals with a wide range of intersecting life experiences including newcomers, refugees, folx who use substances as a coping strategy, homeless and under-housed individuals, sex workers/professionals, survivors of incarceration, disabled folx, and consumers/survivors of the mental health system. I have spent a considerable amount of time studying and learning about how our identities influence our experiences in the world. I am also well-practiced in approaching those I meet with non-judgemental curiosity while setting aside my assumptions. I believe you are the expert of your experience and I welcome the (re)learnings we will both have in our time together.
anti-oppression: I believe we live in a society which is traumatic, where we have embodied ways-of-surviving within the power imbalances, disconnection, and individualism perpetuated by colonialism and capitalism. I take seriously critical and ongoing self-reflective practices of decolonization, anti-racism, 2SLGBTQA+ positivity, harm reduction, body and sex positivity, disability justice, and fluency in the dynamics of diverse relationship and family structures (such as ethical nonmonogamy). As a descendant of white settlers, I am grateful to global majority/BIPOC artists, activists, healers, and land protectors for their leadership and generous teachings in this intersectional work.
Along with my private practice, I facilitate groups with community organizations in the Toronto area. I am also proud to serve as a board member with the Ontario Expressive Arts Therapy Association.