Art therapist offers free support group

The group will provide a place and space for people to be listened to and accepted as they work through trauma.


Local art therapist Rossana Garcia Manzano is offering a free art therapy support group to people affected by the recent wildfires. The group will provide a place and space for people to be listened to and accepted as they work through the trauma that such a disaster inevitably produces.

“The fires have impacted a lot of people, and it’s important for people to be able to share their experiences with others,” Garcia Manzano said, who, with her partner Emilio Martinez, was caught in the Hulme Creek fire on the afternoon of Aug. 13.

“We live in a fairly isolated area, and even though we are connecting, we are all spread apart. The support group will provide people with a secure space for them to come together and share their feelings.”

Garcia Manzano hopes that the workshop will provide participants with a renewed sense of hope and help reconnect them with themselves.

Comprised of eight sessions, all taking place on consecutive Fridays at the Rock Creek Health Centre, the free workshop will allow participants a chance to heal within the framework of art directives. For instance, the first session will see group members identifying their strengths and resources through the medium of collage.

Participants will scour magazines for pictures that illustrate their fortitude and emotional assets and put them together on a single canvas. Artists will then team up with a partner of their choice, who will put into spoken words what their partner’s collage communicates to them.

This technique is a proven method of empowerment for those whose emotional foundation has been shaken.

Garcia Manzano stresses, however, that the quality of the artwork is unimportant; rather, that the expression of feelings is the ultimate goal of the workshop.

The eight sessions begin on Friday, Sept.25, and all are welcome. Those interested can register by phone at 250-446-2464 or by email at

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