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by Kat Rowe | May 11, 2023

Throughout the lockdowns of 2021, Western Sydney University (WSU) piloted an Online Art Therapy Clinic in partnership with Stride. 

Originally conceived as an accessible approach to provide online art therapy during the pandemic, the usefulness and convenience of online art therapy in the carers’ home environment became apparent. Stride and WSU re-commenced the program in late 2022 and look forward to continuing to provide this valuable source of connection to carers.

How the program operated:

Master of Art Therapy students were invited to offer online art therapy to Stride clients who are carers of loved ones with lived experience of mental health issues. 

WSU’s experienced and dedicated Master of Art Therapy students facilitated one-on-one online art therapy sessions for individual Stride carers each week as part of their clinical placement, using a strengths-based approach to support and guide self-care practices. These sessions ran for one to one and a half hours via Zoom. Prior to commencing the program, carers had an Art Pack containing all the materials they needed delivered to their home.

The students introduced the carers to the processes of art therapy with the intention that the carers would be able to continue a creative self-care practice beyond the sessions using the art packs provided and through a new or rediscovered connection to self.

Carers appreciated being able to remain within earshot of those they are caring for and continue their creative practice well after sessions had finished.

The success of the program:

This program has provided WSU and Stride with an opportunity to explore this new concept and with remarkable success.

Now, Western Sydney University have published a report sharing the success of the online clinic, as an example of the therapeutic potential of art in therapy and how this is possible online, in fact how delivering art therapy online invites new creative connections. 

“It has turned out that the pandemic is not the only reason to provide art therapy online – that offering the option of a service that reaches into carers’ homes makes ongoing sense and can significantly increase accessibility and participation.”
Associate Professor Sheridan Linnell

As described above by Sheridan, the online clinic proved to be a welcome and much needed service for the community as well as providing in-depth learning experiences for the students of Western Sydney University. 

Stride recognised the need to support those who are caring for others and was keen to collaborate to ensure an accessible and beneficial program that gives back to the carer whilst being able to offer a placement opportunity for students of the Master of Art Therapy program.

To read the full report: Download PDF

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