"Playing at Kitsilano Beach!"
I am passionate about working with people experiencing questions of meaning, identity, grief and loss because they can be opportunities and breakthroughs when approached with the right mind set. I learned the most valuable lessons from working with dying people, playing with children, talking to homeless people, resolving conflict in relationships, traveling and using the arts to work through my pain and loss.
I like to see life as a big university where you can easily get lost and stressed because of all the lessons to be learned.
Hey my name is Iven, Counsellor, Expressive Art Therapist. I am working with alternative forms of therapy such as music, play, and art making to foster positive mental health and self care - TherARTy.
I study the positive effects of play, music and art making on people, what experience do we have physically, emotionally, and how are those experiences related to our personal healing. Playing music in bereavement and palliative setting since approx. two decades taught me that I am able to create a healing space for people transforming emotional pain using art and music.
I am a visual artist, teacher and multi instrumentalist. I am passionate about teaching art, music and helping people who suffer from:
Grief and loss
Opportunities for growth and self development often happen when we are out of your comfort zone, when you struggle.
My live experience exceeds my academic experience as a Expressive Art Therapist and Counselor.
It all started with playing music for people at the end of life. This opportunity came to me through losing my own parents in my twenties which was my first step towards my career as a grief counselor. What makes me unique as a Therapist is my lived experience as a human being, artist and performer.
I am helping people to navigate through life transitions, experiencing grief and loss and exploring questions of meaning and identity using the arts.
What is Medicine Art - TherARTy?
A unique approach I developed, addresses spiritual and psychological challenges through music and visual art, helping people to address what's beyond words and the conscious mind.
My brand name Medicine Art was born through my visual art work, which is different to other art because it inspires, guides and acknowledges people and their challenges. To be acknowledged can mean to feel seen, understood and held. Holding is the very essence of healing and therapy. This connection to my Medicine Art is key for my work as a counselor and outreach work on the street. My Medicine Art is cathartic and unique to me as a therapist.
How it all started
My exploration through vision quest, fasting and plant medicines in my twenties led me to a plant medicine retreat in Peru. After those three weeks I felt lost, my world wasn't the same anymore. My goal to get a BFA in Animation didn't mean anything anymore after that trip.
I started to read anything I could about plant medicines, addiction, healing with psychedelics and started to volunteer for MAPS. I focused on my passion to offer music therapy for bereavement support and end of life care and combined what I have learned in Peru in my Gratitude Sound Bath.
I also started to approach street youth in Toronto and Vancouver whenever I was selling my Medicine Art on the street. I gave them free recycling paper sketchbook to give them a chance to express themselves.
Now I am connecting the dots of:
Expressive Art Therapy is Medicine Art/ TherARTy
Grief and bereavement support
Psychedelic integration counselling
Compassionate Inquiry (CI)/ Counselling
Helping people to navigate through life transitions, experiencing grief and loss, exploring questions of meaning and identity through Medicine Art.
In Expressive Art Therapy we also talk about "the diet" just like they talk about "la dieta" when people want to drink Ayahusca, which means to stick to an restricted diet and to abstain from certain foods and activities.
In Expressive Art Therapy my diet would be lighting a candle in the morning, giving thanks, doing art and music, going to the forest, fasting and reading good books.
Ritual Making - Plant Medicines
In my practice as an Expressive Art Therapist I also use herbs, teas, incense, sap from trees, frankincense, candles, pale santo and essentials oil to put people in their senses. This will help you to distance your self from the literal world which we so often need a break from. Whenever I go to the forest I am looking out for things I can use to burn serving as smudge, sap will create a nice forest smell, sage and thief's oil will clean your apartment from air born and energetic residue.
Thanks to my grandmother who was a teacher in biology and herbalist. She knew most of the plants wherever we walked by knowing their Latin and indigenous name. She inspired me to study medicine plants and their medicinal use.
I enjoy learning about other cultures and their use of ritualistic plant medicine, smudges, tobaccos and special teas for ceremonial use to consult the spirit world.