Hello! My name is Kayla (she/her). I am a somatic expressive arts therapist (in training) with over ten years of counselling and community facilitation experience in diverse supportive environments. I am currently practicing as a senior student at the Create Clinic, which offers low-cost therapy to individuals, pairs, and small groups.
Expressive arts therapy (EXA) is an eclectic approach to therapy which is relational, experiential, imaginative, resource-based and embodied. Through EXA, clients are supported to attune to the art making process through a variety of modalities (such as visual art, movement, sound/music, voice, writing, and storytelling) in order to gain awareness of how their creative resources support them to overcome challenges. My EXA practice is complemented with training in somatic experiencing, a body-oriented modality which gently shifts trauma through easing overactive nervous system states–the fight, flight, freeze patterns of survival which were once adaptive, and may no longer be supportive in the here-and-now.
As an expressive arts therapist, I am:
-present: 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.
-relational: I believe in 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.
-trauma-informed: 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 you are the expert of your experience and that my role is to be a collaborative and empowering ally who supports you to enact your boundaries and needs. I also have some specific training in trauma therapy (somatic experiencing).
-embodied: 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 and accessing openings for safety, pleasure, and connection.
-culturally-competent: 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, survivors of incarceration, disabled folx, and those with a history of suicidal ideation. I am well-practiced in approaching everyone I meet with non-judgemental curiosity while setting aside my assumptions. I have spent a considerable amount of time studying and learning about how our identities influence our experiences in the world.
-anti-oppressive: 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 capitalism and colonialism. 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 nonmonogamy). As a descendant of white settlers, I am grateful to BIPOC artists, activists, healers, and land protectors for their leadership and generous teachings in this intersectional work.