Photo courtesy of Career Centre Peter Christensen and Heidi Abbott. Abbott wants to use art therapy as a tool to help further people’s career goals.

New Parksville program aims to connect job-seekers with their passion through art

Free workshop series at the Career Centre eases stress of job search

The stress of searching for a new job is something that almost everyone can relate to.

Whether you’re just starting out, transitioning between industries or simply looking for a new gig, sending out resume after resume can quickly become exhausting and discouraging — not to mention the financial toll that being unemployed can have on individuals and families.

The Career Centre in Parksville is offering a new workshop series that staff members hope will help alleviate some of this stress for job seekers, and help them learn about themselves in the process.

Thanks to a wellness grant from Island Health, the Career Centre will offer a four-class workshop series that uses art therapy as a tool of self-expression and exploration for those experiencing struggles with employment.

READ MORE: Career Centre assists diverse individuals gain employment

Heidi Abbott works with the Career Centre and is partway through a diploma with the Kutenai Art Therapy Institute in Nelson.

“Art therapy is just another way for people to do self-expression, relaxation, uncover some things about themselves they may not have known and develop strategies to be more resilient,” said Abbott.

Abbott thought that using art as a mode of expression would be a unique and effective way for job seekers to explore their job search journey.

She says that practices of mindfulness, self-care and reflection found in art therapy can have a huge benefit for those stressed out from the job search.

“Being in that mode of looking for work and deciding what you’re going to do affects all aspects of your life. So by offering workshops like this we’re taking into account the whole person. The science is behind it, that all these kinds of things — self care, mindfulness, art therapy — helps people,” said Abbott.

Each workshop series will have a class size of approximately eight people.

It’s open to anyone who is unemployed or underemployed and wants to do some self-exploration.

Different activities will be explored throughout the four sessions, which are each two hours long.

Activities would include painting, clay, collage, writing, journaling and more.

The workshops will start with a talking circle, then move to the art portion and follow with feedback. The feedback is not about the artistic merit of the work, but rather what participants can learn about themselves from their own creations.

Abbott will provide insights on individual’s skills and interests, as well as provide strategies for stress relief, coping with stress and getting along with others.

Abbott wants to stress that people need not be artistically inclined to attend.

“A lot of people think I’m not creative, I can’t take that program – it has nothing to do with creativity,” said Abbott.

“It’s just relaxing, and enjoying the feeling of holding clay and making something, and just letting it go.”

The workshop will be facilitated by Abbott, with guidance and input from instructors at the Kutenai Art Therapy Institute.

The first workshop series starts on Tuesday, Sept. 17, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Career Centre.

Interested applicants can contact the Career Centre at 250-248-3205 or drop by in person to set up an intake appointment.

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