Q&A with Janis Dyck

This interview with Janis Dyck was originally published in Golden This Week in March 2016.

Q. What services do you offer?

A. I offer individual and group art therapy sessions for children and adults. My art therapy work uses the creative process as a means of emotional healing and personal growth. Clients are able to work through issues ranging from past trauma and abuse to those simply wishing to welcome creativity more into their lives. My sessions combine meditation, movement, art-making and written reflection.

My work is client centred and follows the client’s lead while I witness, support and gently guide the process. In my experience art-making leads people to exactly where they need to go for their own healing and growth. The art is encouraging, self-supporting and never pushy. It is a safe, gentle way of working with material that can be highly charged. Like dreams, the art can access unconscious material and bring it into our conscious awareness allowing for integration and growth.

Individual art therapy sessions are usually between one hour and two hours long depending on the client’s wishes. The groups I offer meet once a week for two hours over the course of four - eight weeks. Both the individual and group sessions are offered out of my beautiful, spacious home studio five minutes south of town.

Q. Where did you complete your training?

A. I have always created art for myself and can’t remember a time when I didn’t have this outlet in my life. To further this early beginning I graduated with a Fine Arts Degree (specializing in painting and drawing) from the University of Calgary in 1997. After travelling to Kunming, China to teach English I enrolled in The Vancouver Art Therapy Institute where I obtained a post-graduate diploma in Art Therapy in 2001. While enrolled in art therapy school I had practicum placements at various elementary schools, high schools and The Burnaby Youth Secure Custody Centre.

Q. Who is your typical client?

A. I have worked with children as young as 4 up to adults in their eighties. Art therapy is accessible to anyone willing to pick up a paintbrush and discover where their art can lead them. Some clients are looking to explore issues of trauma and abuse while others are simply wanting to become more attuned with their creativity and intuition.

Q. What are some of the benefits of art therapy?

A. Art therapy has many benefits. Art therapy can lead to greater emotional awareness and connection resulting in an overall sense of well-being and healthier relationships. Art therapy can decrease heart-rate, slow down breathing and decrease muscle tension. It can also point to physical issues we may be experiencing but not be conscious of. By exploring emotional material that may have a physical manifestation we can increase our overall physical well-being. Art therapy increases mental focus and eliminates mental chatter helping us to slow down and be present. Entering the creative process involves taking a leap of faith into the unknown. In my opinion opening up to the unknown opens us up to the experience of something greater than ourselves and the possibility of transformation and increased awareness.

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself and what brought you to Golden?

A. I moved to Golden in 2001 to work as The Abuse Recovery Counsellor at The Golden Family Centre where I gained experience working with a wide variety of clients on a wide range of issues. Having grown up in Canmore, Alberta I was so excited to find work as an art therapist back in the mountains. Shortly after moving to Golden I met my husband and after working for a couple of years took time off to raise my two sons. My experience being a mother continues to teach me so much about living in the moment, being present and being open emotionally. I feel this experience has brought a lot into my work as an art therapist.

I enjoy spending time in the mountains with my husband and boys and the wonderful people of this community. I am passionate about painting and enjoy skiing, running, hiking, biking and gardening. Yoga and meditation have been part of my personal practice for over 20 years.

Get in touch through Nourish to connect with Janis or make an appointment.