The Wellington Art Therapists Collective


We are a group of art therapists practising in diverse work settings and connecting regularly for professional support and sharing.

Please note, WellART as an organisation is not able to accept client referrals for art therapy; please contact an individual art therapist (using the details in their Bio below) if you or someone you know is wanting a therapist.


The Wellington Art Therapists Collective:

  • Connects: Wellington based Arts Therapists once a month, usually on a Friday evening
  • Welcomes: all practising and training Arts Therapists, local or visiting
  • Supports: members by providing a professional forum to share current practice
  • Invites: members to host a meeting, share their work, provide a group workshop or a guest speaker
  • Provides: information about Art Therapy through our idea-sharing blog
  • Acknowledges: the support of Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapy Association (ANZATA) through its professional membership and their financial assistance


WellART Art(s) Therapists

Members of WellArt work in a variety of settings, and some are available for private clients.


Q ELLYN ROSE SMITH WHATLEY - (pronouns she/her), Chair of WellArt

Registered Art Therapist (MA AThR), Member ANZACATA

Ellyn Rose has been fortunate to work therapeutically with diverse populations and sectors nationally and internationally, including; palliative care, hospice/bereavement care, children’s groups, multiple sclerosis, women’s empowerment groups, private psychiatric wards, community mental health and through private practice. Working within a tangata-centred and Te Whare Tapa Wha framework, Ellyn Rose tailors her therapy to suit the individual needs of each unique client, in a group or individual setting. Ellyn Rose is currently working within tertiary education providing wellbeing and skill-building opportunities for tauira and kaimahi, as well as in Private Practice with ACC Registration.

Ellyn Rose’s areas of specialty are:
- Trauma & Abuse
- End of Life & Bereavement Care
- Rainbow Empowerment & Body Dysmorphia
- Anxiety & Coping Mechanisms
- Sensory Engagement & Emotion Regulation
- Self-Care & Skill-Building

Art therapy looks different for everyone and no two sessions are alike. The process of engaging with art materials can provide endless opportunities, including safe space to work through difficult emotions, share-stories, validate experiences, process grief or trauma, explore parts of your identity or simply navigate creative coping mechanisms.

CURRENTLY WORKING AT: Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa | Massey University, Pōneke | Wellington, Private Practice | Aurora Collective , Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai| Hutt Central

CONTACT DETAILS: [email protected]


Registered Arts Therapist (ANZACATA; ACC)
Educational Psychologist (NZPB; NZPS)
EMDR practitioner

I am currently working with children and adults from a range of backgrounds and ages who may be experiencing anxiety, worry, loss, have experienced trauma or who struggle to control their anger. I have a background in education and I have particular experience working with young people with special needs. As an Art Therapist, I have worked in Child and Adolescent Mental Health, for a Youth Health Service and Special Education, with Sensitive Claims clients for ACC and for an NGO.

Using art as a counselling medium can be very helpful for people who feel unable to talk much about their experience. It is also an effective way of gaining insight into thoughts, feelings and experiences that lie at the heart of unhappiness. Art therapy can help in developing emotional regulation and strengthening a sense of identity, increasing confidence, resilience and self-esteem.

I am a qualified EMDR practitioner and I use EMDR extensively with clients who have trauma to resolve. It blends well with Art Therapy for clients who respond well to a less verbal, more visual, creative experience. I am also a sandplay practitioner and use this, alongside play and EMDR when working with children who have experienced trauma.

CURRENTLY WORKING AT: I work in private practice in the centre of Wellington.

CONTACT: [email protected]

Q PAT HAY - Treasurer WellART

BSc, MEd, Dip Psych, MAAT, AThR, Provisional Member NZAC, Member ANZACATA

Pat is a registered arts therapist and counsellor with professional membership of the Australian New Zealand and Asian Association of Creative Arts Therapies (ANZACATA) and the New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC, Provisional). Combining a passion for art-making with supporting people’s mental health, she qualified with a master’s degree in Arts Therapy from Whitecliffe College Auckland in 2015. She is an accredited ACC counsellor working with sensitive claims clients (sexual trauma). She currently combines this work with supporting young people in an Intermediate school. She facilitates well-being workshops in community education.

Over the past few years, she has gained clinical experience in diverse settings including acute mental health, hospice, residential care homes and schools. She has also supported newly-arrived migrants and refugees in therapeutic art-making groups.

She is a client-centred practitioner who integrates arts therapy and counselling skills with other evidence-based approaches, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy and Positive Psychology. Within a safe and supportive environment, she aims to help people to process difficult experiences and increase self-awareness while finding new perspectives, developing emotional strength, increased resiliency and improved overall well-being.

CONTACT: 027 885 9072, [email protected]


Registered Art Therapist (AThR), Member ANZACATA, ACC Registered Counsellor

I have extensive experience working with people with intellectual disabilities and mental health issues in different settings and roles. I have been involved in art therapy projects in prison and in schools, as well as with dementia patients. I also have work experience in Palliative care and at a clinic for Psychotherapy in Germany.

My areas of specialty are:
- Trauma and Abuse
- Autism Spectrum and Disability
- Anxiety issues
- Workshops to strengthen resilience and connectedness

Every person´s way of seeing the world and expressing themselves is different. Art therapy offers creative tools to people of all ages to connect with themselves and to visualise and communicate their thoughts and emotions. I offer a safe and engaging space for you to create and discuss themes/subjects, which are relevant to you - at your pace. We will work closely with the objects you create. Together we will reflect and talk about your creative process and extract what is important to you. We will focus on strengthening self - awareness, enabling communication and building resilience.

I have been a self- employed artist for 10 years before training as an Art Therapist.

CURRENTLY WORKING AT: Te Whare Aruhu, secure mental health unit at Hutt Hospital, and in private practice. My space is located in Thorndon, Wellington.

CONTACT: 021 0274 9695, [email protected]


Member NZ Association of Counsellors (MNZAC), Registered Art Therapist (AThR), Member ANZACATA

Serena has a Masters degree in Art Therapy (including counselling training) from La Trobe University in Melbourne Australia. Prior to her masters, Serena worked for five years as a paediatric oncology nurse. Serena has extensive experience in using counselling and art therapy with children, young people and families/whanau experiencing grief, loss, change and trauma, including family break-up, bereavement (including families bereaved through suicide).

Serena also works with clients with autism and Asperger’ syndrome. Serena works in partnership with clients to help them have hope and move forwards during tough times.

Apologies, Serena is currently not taking new clients.
CONTACT: 027 353 4120, [email protected], www.serenastace.nz


BA(Theatre and Film), MAAT (Clinical; Hons), AThR, Member ANZACATA

Kia Ora, I completed my master’s in arts therapy at Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design in 2017. Before qualifying as a therapist, I had been using the arts in youth work and chaplaincy roles for over 10 years including: high school and university chaplaincy, leadership in residential young adult communities in NZ and UK,in youth development for PN City Council, theatre in education in the UK and teaching arts in Thailand to refugee children. The placements I held during my master’s study were; working with adolescents and senior citizens with special needs, I also worked in a mainstream primary school with children aged 5 to 12 presenting with grief and anxiety, worked in the acute mental health in-patient unit at Wellington Hospital, Te Whare O Matairangi, and counselling adults at Catholic social services.

CURRENTLY WORKING AT: private practice

CONTACT: [email protected]

Q ANJA STRIEPKE - HeART and Soul Therapies

Reg Art Therapist and Supervisor, Member ANZACATA.

Art therapy provides an effective and playful gateway to our inner wisdom. I love supporting adults to reclaim their emotional and mental health through creative expression and self-discovery. I combine the use of art with my solid foundation in psychotherapy, and draw on a diverse range of counselling approaches tailored to individual needs. 

CURRENTLY WORKING AT: private practice

CONTACT: 021 0227 2013, www.heartsoultherapies.com



I have been a professionally registered Art Therapist for 17 years.

My areas of speciality are:
- challenging behaviours including children and young people who sexually harm
- trauma and abuse issues
- depression and anxiety
- issues with serious or chronic ill health

I am experienced in working with children, teenagers, families, adults and groups. I am trained and practised in family therapy, IDT, playroom skills, and sand tray work and have experience running wellness and mindfulness groups, grief groups, psychoeducational groups and children's groups promoting resilience and support for being dyslexic. I am also an experienced supervisor for other practitioners.

CURRENTLY WORKING AT: I work full-time at WellStop helping children and young people and their families. I supervise Art Therapy students during their clinical placements.


Member ANZACATA, Full Registration with the New Zealand Education Council, Member of Yoga Alliance

I completed a Masters in Arts Therapy (Clinical) training at Whitecliffe College of Art and Design in 2017. My placements training includes Mash TRUST, Central Region Eating Disorder Service (CREDS), Child, Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and Hikitia Te Wairua (National and Regional Intellectual Disability Secure Services). I offer a combination of Arts therapy and a gentle Yin Yoga practice which can support additional mind, body, emotion and soul exploration and release. I work with individual and facilitate group settings with a special interest in working with adolescent and teachers (peer mentoring, individual and as a group). I have extensive teaching experience and knowledge supporting young people experiencing health, mental health and behavioural challenges which impact on their engagement family dynamics, social peer groups and school attendance. I also facilitate arts-based collaborative peer support sessions to enable teachers to develop and promote self-care practices to offset occupational stress.

CURRENTLY WORKING AT: as a guidance counsellor and arts therapist at Wellington College. I previously worked as a Health Teacher at the Central Regional Health school supporting young people and their families with health and/or mental health challenges. I provide weekly group Yoga and Art Therapy sessions at Hikitia Te Wairua and teach Yin Yoga at Hot Yoga Wellington.

CONTACT: M. 022 479 1759

Q KIRSTY STRONG (she/her) - Artisan Arts Therapy

BA (Psychology), MAAT Hons (Clinical) AThR, Member ANZACATA, ACC Reg

I have been offering therapeutic support services in private practice as an arts therapist for 5 years. My practice provides services utilising the expressive arts, mindfulness and somatic approaches. I support clients by enhancing a sense of wellbeing, building resilience, self-compassion and developing resources to thrive. This incorporates trauma-informed practices and offers clients resources to safely process their lived experience in a fully set up art studio space. Currently, I am offering therapeutic services to individuals over 19 years of age experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD, trauma and those processing life transitions. My therapeutic approach is client-centred, utilises psychotherapeutic techniques combined with meaning making creative practices. My practice is LGBTQIA + friendly.

CURRENTLY WORKING AT: Artisan Arts Therapy in Private Practice in Miramar, Wellington as a provider for ACC Sensitive Claims and referrals. Please note my practice is currently full.

CONTACT: 027 572 2165 or email [email protected]

Q LOUISE MORTON - Active Arts Therapy

PGDip(Tchg), MAAT(Clin)(Hons), AThR, Member ANZACATA

I am passionate about using the arts to support people to explore issues, overcome barriers and increase resilience. My clients and I work creatively, using a variety of arts modalities (including visual arts, dance/movement, drama and writing) within a strong therapeutic alliance to support the processes of meaning-making and change. I have experience working with a wide range of people who have found arts therapy useful for self-development, anxiety, depression, emotion regulation, interpersonal struggles, working through traumatic experiences and navigating grief, loss and change. I have also spent four years supporting survivors of sexual violence. This area remains a strong interest of mine, particularly helping people to re-establish a sense of safety in their bodies through arts practices. I am a registered therapist for clients with ACC sensitive claims.

CURRENTLY WORKING AT: I currently offer individual sessions for adults and adolescents from my private practice in Tawa, and warmly invite you to contact me to discuss how we might work together.

CONTACT: 020 4196 5093, www.activeartstherapy.com

Q MARA ELWOOD - BodyMind Creative Arts Therapy


Mara is a Registered Creative Arts Therapist, Mindfulness and Meditation teacher and creative. She is a member of Australia, New Zealand and Asia Creative Arts Therapist Association (ANZACATA). Mara has studied Focusing Oriented Arts Therapy (FOAT), Nature-Based Expressive Arts Therapy, and has her Level 2 training in Stand Tray and Symbol Work. Mara loves to work with Mandalas and is certified in the Mandala Assessment and Research Instrument (MARI). She works with Trauma Informed Mindfulness practices and is a certified teacher of Mindful Self-Compassion. Mara's Clinical Master’s dissertation was focussed on living with chronic pain and working in the health care profession.

Mara aims to companion her clients to foster positive self-regard through self-compassion and to tap into their own inner wisdom and strengths with creative arts. Mara uses her learning from her own journey with chronic pain to guide her when working with clients who are experiencing this challenge.

Mara’s areas of specialty are:
- Anxiety
- Mindfulness
- Self Compassion
- Pain management
- Trauma
- Sensory Engagement
- Emotion Regulation
- Low Self-esteem
- Self-care- Burnout
- Resilience building.

CURRENTLY WORKING AT: Mara is working in private practice in Island Bay, Wellington with adults and youth age 18+.
CONTACT: Mara at [email protected]
WEBSITE: www.maraelwood.com


Registered Clinical Arts Therapist (ANZACATA), ACC Registered

Salaam. I have a Masters in Arts Therapy from Whitecliffe college and a Bachelor of Fine Arts(hons) from Massey University. I have spent most of my adult life working as an artist and learning the deep healing potential art and creativity can provide. I have worked in a high school counselling service, university, retirement village and non-for-profit organisations as part of my placement requirements. The last year I have been working as an arts therapist in the mental health sector with a focus on developing an arts therapy role within an established organisation. I also have experience in the disability sector. I mostly work with visual art and the imagination yet I will encourage other modalities including nature-based to embody the experience. I am interested in the role of imagination as a tool to make sense of our internal realms and shift states. I am passionate about connecting individuals with their souls essence as a way to create empowerment and to find their own internal guidance systems. I use a client-led approach yet I will offer my own guidance and intuition when I feel it is appropriate.

CONTACT: [email protected], www.negindastgheib.com


MAAT (Clin)(Hons), BEd, BSc, Member ANZACATA

I love using creative modalities to work with tamariki, rangatahi, adults and couples to find ways of navigating a range of mental health issues. Arts therapy is a highly effective, somatic-based way of accessing implicit memories for trauma work and also offers multiple perspectives that cognitive-based approaches don’t necessarily access. I work with indiviuals and groups.

I completed my master’s in arts therapy in 2021 at Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design. Prior to this I worked for two decades as a primary school teacher which included various management roles. The placements I held during my training were: working at MIX offering a drop-in centre for community members with mental health issues, Enliven running a group in their dementia unit, Skylight Trust working with children and adolescents sufffering grief or trauma, Hutt Valley High School with adolescents and Early Intervention Services (Psychosis) with young adults.

CURRENTLY WORKING AT: as a school counsellor/arts therapist at Hutt Valley High School. I have previously worked as a school counsellor/arts therapist at Bishop Viard School and as a contract counsellor/arts therapist at Skylight Trust.

CONTACT: 021 129 0701, [email protected]


MA Art Psychotherapy, BA Fine Art, Member ANZACATA

I worked in the Disability sector in the UK before completing my Art Psychotherapy Masters at the University of South Wales. My placement experience included supporting patients at an acute inpatient unit, a community mental health team and a secure forensic unit. Subsequently I worked in a mental health crisis team providing acute assessment and short-term intervention, before moving to New Zealand and joining the Student Counselling team at Victoria University of Wellington, where I offer Art Therapy, assessment and case coordination for students with complex needs.

I find supporting students at this age and stage deeply rewarding. I am constantly amazed by the creativity and resilience of the people I work with and am always learning from my clients. I offer a safe and engaging space for my clients to express and explore their experiences, feelings, identity and values, in order to help them develop insight, resilience, foster self-esteem and facilitate change, through the process of artmaking and reflection within a therapeutic relationship.

I added Interactive Drawing Therapy to my practice since coming to New Zealand which provides a structured way for clients to connect with and build on their self-awareness, strengths, internal resources, and inner wisdom.


Provisional Member ANZACATA, BFA, Certificate in Adult and Tertiary Teaching (Level 4), Certificate in Te Reo Māori (Level 1), MAAT (Clin)

Tēnā koutou katoa. I am a newly graduated, currently provisionally registered clinical creative arts therapist and will shift to full registration on completion of my research dissertation mid-way through 2023. My background is in social work, the justice system, domestic violence, youth community programmes, residential care, respite and within crisis services in both Aotearoa and Australia.

I have completed recent placements with Early Intervention Services (EIS) providing one on one arts therapy to clients who’ve experienced their first presentation of psychosis as well as providing group arts therapy sessions to young people in crisis at Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) both in Wellington central.

CURRENTLY WORKING AT: Pablos Art Studios as a tutor for adults with lived experience of mental illness and/or disability where I also run a Nature Based arts therapy group and outreach sessions at Laura Ferguson Trust (LFT) in Lower Hutt, for adults with physical and/or neurological impairments focusing or creativity and fostering well-being. I’m currently looking to take on contract work with organisations in the community as well as private one on one clients. I will be ACC registering mid 2023.

CONTACT: [email protected]