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History and Mission

In response to a series of conversations with Canadian mental health practitioners, this chapter emerged with the intention of helping advocate, connect and create professional development and research opportunities for members that employ the intentional use of art, dance/movement, drama, photography, music, play, sand tray, and/or creative writing in their practice.

With the encouragement of Wayne Clifford, Past-President of the Quebec Counselling Association (QCA) and Quebec Anglophone Director to the CCPA, Past-CAC President Nisha Sajnani submitted a proposal and set of bylaws to the board of the then Canadian Counselling Association to establish the formerly named Creative Arts in Counselling chapter in May 2003. The proposal was accepted with an interim executive board with the following members: President: Nisha Sajnani, Secretary/Treasurer: Priya Senroy, Communications: Angela Colangelo. This interim chapter board was unanimously voted in for a two-year mandate at our first AGM in May 2004. We appointed the following provincial representatives: Kristin Boettger (Alberta), Csilla Przibislawsky (Manitoba), Tony DiGiacomo (Ontario), Leigh Bulmer (Quebec), Mark Kelly (Yukon), Judy Weiser (BC), Cindy Newton (Saskatchewan).

The presently Creative Arts in Counselling and Psychotherapy (CACP) Chapter provides a tangible forum through which mental health practitioners who employ the use of the arts in/as therapy can engage in open dialogue on issues pertaining to training, research, and practice. In 2018, our chapter members voted to change our name to better reflect and include clinicians, mental health practitioners and allied professionals beyond the counselling profession.

Creative arts therapists and expressive arts therapists are often registered counsellors and psychotherapists who use these modalities in their treatment receive training from an accredited academic institution, with specialization in one or more creative arts modality in combination with intense clinical training related to emotional and cognitive human development and the therapeutic process.

This chapter also serves as a vehicle for lobbying appropriate university departments and facilities, governments and agencies to meet their goal of preparing competent counsellors and psychotherapists by providing education on the variance between the creative arts modalities in counselling and therapy.


Rowena Tam

President
Rowena Tam

Rowena Tam (she/her) is a drama therapist (M.A.), arts educator, and member of the Quebec Counselling Association (QCA) executive team. Practicing with an anti-oppressive lens, Rowena has clinical experience working with immigrant/refugee youth and families, womxn in prison, as well as children and adults with neurotypical and neurodiverse abilities. Rowena currently divides her time between Montréal and Toronto, and acknowledges her position as a settler on unceded Indigenous lands with the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation recognized as the custodians of Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal, and the area known as Tkaronto caretaken by the Anishinabek Nation, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, the Huron-Wendat, the Métis, and the Mississaugas of the Credit.

Gabrielle Gingras

Past-President
Gabrielle Gingras

Gabrielle is a licensed teacher, artist, art-therapist (M.A.), member of the Quebec Art Therapy Association (AATQ) and founding member of Canevas art therapy Centre in Tiohtiá:ke, also known as Montreal.  Her goal as an art therapist is to support individuals and groups in achieving emotional and psychological well-being through creativity and art. Her therapeutic approach is drawn primarily from narrative and humanistic values, which acknowledges individuals and groups as the authors and creative forces of their experiences.  She is committed to working with adults, the elderly population, recent immigrants to Quebec, and is especially experienced in working with caregivers, woman how are experiencing difficult transitions and children who have mental health issues. Gabrielle acknowledges that she lives and works on unceded Indigenous lands. The Kanien’kehá:ka Nation is recognized as the custodians of the lands and waters on which we gather today. Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal, is historically known as a gathering place for many First Nations.

Audrey-Anne Frenette

Treasurer
Audrey-Anne Frenette

Audrey-Anne Frenette is an art-therapist (M.A) and the owner of a jewelry company. She believes that every individual is creative, and has the capacity to adapt. She is committed to working with children through art therapy, as her goal is to help them find and develop effective ways to express themselves, and to overcome their difficulties to transform their suffering. Her work as an art-therapist also seeks to focus on preventing symptoms rather than treating them. She has educational experience working with pre-school aged children as well as clinical experience working with adults experiencing psychological and emotional difficulties and with immigrant children and their families. Audrey-Anne is from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, and for the past 9 years, she’s been living on the island of Tiohtiá:ke also known as the island of Montreal. Audrey-Anne acknowledges and is sensitive to her role as a settler currently residing on the traditional territories of First Nations communities.

Cassandra Brennan

Secretary
Cassandra Brennan

Cassandra Brennan is a Drama Therapist who recently completed her Masters in Creative Arts Therapies at Concordia University. She has worked in recent years with the Art Hives network to explore public forms of therapeutic practice within the creative arts therapies. She hopes to continue working to find ways to make drama therapy more accessible to the public and advocate for the powerful potential of the creative arts therapies. She has experience working with individuals with anxiety and other mood-related disorders, as well as geriatric populations. Her work brings her to witness the resiliency of the human spirit in others each day. Cassandra acknowledges that she is a settler currently living on the land of the traditional territory of the Anishnabek.

Leah Lewis

Board Liaison

Melody Newcomb

Special Projects Coordinator
Melody Newcomb

Melody Newcomb is an accredited music therapist (MTA) and music educator who recently completed an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling – Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has worked with adolescents in a variety of settings: residential treatment, schools, and currently in an outpatient eating disorder program as well as a community counselling centre. She also works with adults in hospital and the community living with mental health issues. She uses the arts to help clients and patients express and embody their own story and strengths. She is humbled to be a witness to the struggle of clients and supports their resilience and recovery. Play and creativity in a safe and accepting container are at the heart of her practice. Melody lives in Winnipeg, which is located on the original lands of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis nation. She respects the Treaties that were made on these territories, she acknowledges the harms and mistakes of the past, and she dedicates herself to move forward in partnership with Indigenous communities in a spirit of reconciliation and collaboration.

Lorelei Dietz

Communications Director
Lorelei Dietz

A recent graduate of Concordia University’s Graduate Diploma in Music Therapy, Lorelei is just beginning her career as a music therapist! Lorelei is originally from Montreal (acknowledged as the traditional and unceded territory of the Kanien’keha:ka— Mohawk). During her Bachelor of Music at McGill University, Lorelei began looking for ways to combine her two interests: music and psychology. This lead her in the direction of music therapy! Lorelei has worked as a music therapist primarily in long-term care facilities and with people of varying developmental & intellectual disabilities. Lorelei has returned to Halifax (acknowledged as Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People). She currently works as a musician with the Canadian Armed Forces while working to develop music therapy programs in the local community.

Stephanie Sing

Communications Specialist
Stephanie Sing

Stephanie Sing (she/her) is a bicultural art-therapist (M.A) currently practicing in the Greater Toronto Area. Her interests gravitate toward individuals and communities whose lives have been touched by a traumatic experience, especially those related to broader systemic problems.  Stephanie’s clinical experience varies in scope and has included working with: individuals living with dementia, women and children fleeing domestic and honour based violence, incarcerated women, newcomers, and communities afflicted by drug and gang violence. Stephanie is a strong believer in empowering formally disenfranchised groups and assists those she works with by using a trauma-informed lens as well as closely referencing the community resiliency model. As an informed practitioner, Stephanie acknowledges that she is a settler that lives and works on unceded Indigenous lands, the area known as Tkaronto caretaken by the Anishinabek Nation, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, the Huron-Wendat, the Métis, and the Mississaugas of the Credit. She also acknowledges that Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit, and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.


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Constitution and Bylaws

The Chapter’s bylaws are a set of rules that control the actions of its members and govern the internal management of the Chapter.


Brochure

The CAC Chapter Brochure contains information regarding the Chapter. To order printed copies, please contact the National Office.



Professional Development Activities

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