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Wellington Art Therapists

WellART wellington art therapists

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

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The Wellington Art Therapists Collective:



Wellington based Arts Therapists once a month, usually on a Friday evening


all practising and training Arts Therapists, local or visiting
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members by providing a professional forum to share current practice


members to host a meeting, share their work, provide a group workshop or a guest speaker


information about Art Therapy through our idea-sharing blog


the support of ANZATA through its professional membership and their financial assistance

What is Art Therapy?

Art Therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of making art to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of people of all ages.

Art Therapy is founded on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to achieve insight and develop self awareness that in turn can alleviate stress, improve interpersonal skills, regulate emotion, manage behaviour and resolve conflicts or problems. 
Serena Stace art therapist wellington

Serena Stace

Secretary of WellArt
Member New Zealand Association of Counsellors (MNZAC)
Professional Member Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapy Association (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’s syndrome. Serena works in partnership with clients to help them have hope and move forwards during tough times.
Note: Serena is not currently taking new clients.
Contact Details:  arrow dark blue-870email Serena or  arrow dark blue-870see website
sarah nightingale art therapist wellington

Sarah Nightingale  

Co-Chair of WellArt
Member Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapy Association (ANZACATA)
EMDR trained clinician and qualified Sandplay practitioner
ACC Registered Counsellor

I work with young people who suffer from anxiety, worry, loss, have experienced trauma or who struggle to control their anger. 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. I have particular experience working with young people with special needs, particularly those on the Autism Spectrum. Before I trained as an Art Therapist, I worked in education and educational psychology. I am also experienced in running art-based support groups to build confidence and resilience.

Currently Working at:  I work for Wellstop, have a private practice in Island Bay and supervise other Art Therapists.

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photo of Sandra Schmidt art therapist wellington

Sandra Schmidt  

Co-Chair of WellArt
Registered Art Therapist (AThR)
Member Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapy Association (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: EVARO, where I facilitate 1-on-1 Art Therapy sessions and group-based programmes for adults with intellectual disability and mental health issues. My private practice is located in Te Aro and Melrose, Wellington.

Contact Details: 021 0274 9695
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Mary-Grace Williams art therapist wellington

Mary-Grace Williams 

Committee Member of WellArt
Member Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapy Association (ANZACATA). 
Provisional Member Registered with New Zealand Association of Counsellors

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: St Bernard’s College Lower Hutt as the full-time School Counsellor / Arts Therapist

Contact Details: I am not accepting new clients at this time but can be contacted at
Anja Striepke art therapist wellington

Anja Striepke

HeART and Soul Therapies 
Registered Art therapist, Gestalt therapist and Counsellor
Member of Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapy Association( ANZACATA)
Provisional Member New Zealand Association of Counsellors (ProvMNZAC)

I am an Arts and Gestalt therapy practitioner in private practice. I am passionate about supporting adults to discover and claim their authentic and unique expression, which I facilitate through a combination of talking and creative exploration. Art therapy provides a beautiful gateway to our inner knowing and wisdom, which unfolds as we create. Gestalt therapy supports this process by acknowledging the importance of being witnessed and validated in this process. It emphasises non-judgemental ‘awareness’, and welcomes every aspect of you. I also facilitate therapy groups and workshops on art therapy and mindfulness.
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Currently Working at: my private practice HeART and Soul Therapies 

Contact Details: M. 021 0227 2013
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Ffyona Matthews art therapist wellington

Ffyona Matthews 

Member Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapy Association (ANZACATA). 

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. 

Contact Details:  arrow dark blue-870email Ffyona
irena stenner art therapist wellington

Irena Stenner  

Member NZ Association of Counsellors (MNZAC)
ACC Registered

I have been a practicing art therapist for over two decades. I am also an accredited Interactive Drawing Therapy teacher and have trained in general counselling modalities. I have a lifelong interest in helping people access their own inner wisdom through creativity. I work with individuals and facilitate groups with a special interest in work places. 

Currently Working at: Central Region Eating Disorder Services, MASH Trust, Private Practice, Supervision Group for Counsellors

Contact Details: Irena is not currently taking new clients.
Jane Gray art therapist wellington

Jane Gray

Member of The Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapies Association (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: 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 Details:  M. 022 479 1759  arrow dark blue-870email Jane
Kirsty Strong Art Therapist wellington

Kirsty Strong

Artisan Arts Therapy – Create, Connect, Thrive

BA (Psychology), MAAT Hons (Clinical) AThR
Professional Member Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapy Association (ANZACATA)

I provide counselling services utilising the expressive arts to support clients to build relationships, resilience and process their life experience in order to thrive.  I have worked with children and young people with special needs, anxiety, trauma and those processing life transitions.  I have a particular interest in providing creative processing opportunities to support children, young people and their families/whanau to connect, understand and thrive in their life experience.  Before training as an Arts Therapist I worked in the community sector in multiple roles including developing and facilitating training opportunity programmes for young people and I am a practising artist.  

Currently working at: Artisan Arts Therapy in Private Practice in Kilbirnie, Wellington

Contact Details:  M. 275 722 165  arrow dark blue-870email Kirsty

Louise Morton 

BA (criminology/sociology), PGDip(Tchg), MAAT(Clin)(Hons), AThR
Professional Member Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapy Association (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 Details:  M. 020 4196 5093    arrow dark blue-870email Louise   arrow dark blue-870see website
photo of Mary Brownlow art therapist wellington

Mary Brownlow    

Member of the NZ Association of Counsellors (MNZAC)

I bring 30 years experience engaging with families, individuals and couples to facilitate well being through talking therapies and creative processes. I help people to understand and build satisfying relationships and to find perspectives that support growth and healing. Art deepens your understanding of underlying issues that cause distressing thought patterns and feelings and with this understanding you are able to choose new ways of relating to yourself and others that is more satisfying and constructive. Children work through feelings in art and play, thus develop inner resources to cope with life challenges and develop greater resilience. Adults discover Interactive Drawing Therapy assists them to gain objectivity, insight, self reliance and inner authority to live more confidently.
I employ mindfulness, Object Relations Therapy, Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, Interactive Drawing Therapy, and non-verbal therapies such as Sand tray, Art Therapy using painting and paper assembly that focus on exploration of inner experience. I act as a Clinical Supervisor for a variety of practitioners, deliver Team Building Workshops for Professionals, and run training courses in Interactive Drawing Therapy. I lead an Interactive Drawing Therapy peer supervision group.

My background is in Palliative Care Hospice Services, Adult & Child Cancer, Child Mental Health, Parenting Education and Parent Child Relationships, Youth Health, Eating Disorder Services, Child Protection & Foster Care.

Currently Working At: Private Practice Room, Level 8, 2 Woodward Street, Wellington Te Aro

Contact Details:  arrow dark blue-870read full Profile   021 872 303  or    arrow dark blue-870email Mary
Mary Weir art therapist wellington

Mary Weir 

Hiatus Studio Art Therapy
Professional Member Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapy Association (ANZACATA)
Professional Member of International Yoga Alliance

Tēnā koutou katoa. Ko tauiwi au, nō Aerani ahau. I have a special interest in social equity issues: particularly gender, sexuality and neuro-diversity. I have experience working with diverse populations both 1:1 and in groups as an educator (10 years) and more recently as a therapist (3 years). I provide support for depression, existential anxiety, abuse & trauma, addiction, sex & sexuality, developmental challenges, attachment and relationship challenges - for children, youth, adults, LGBTQIA+, traditional & non-traditional partnerships / families. I prioritise presence and authentic connection - using dynamic, adaptable, and client-led therapy methods. I trust participant expertise in their own experience, to know what approaches work best for them, using creative problem solving without requiring artistic 'skill'. All enquiries are welcome. Kia kaha!

Currently working at: Hiatus Studio Private Practice, Wellington Circus Trust (Managing Therapeutic & Social Equity programmes), New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (Providing stigma-free & accessible mental-health care).

Contact Details: 
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photo of Negin Dast arts therapist

Negin Dastgheib

Masters in Arts Therapy, Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons)
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 Details:   
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Pat Hay art therapist wellington

Pat Hay

BSc, MEd, Dip Psych, MAAT, AThR
Provisional Member New Zealand Association of Counsellors (ProvMNZAC)
Professional Member Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapy Association (ANZACATA). 

Pat is a Registered Arts Therapist, graduating from Auckland’s Whitecliffe College of Art and Design Masters of Arts Therapy programme. As part of her clinical placement at Te Omanga hospice, she supported terminally-ill patients and also supported children, adolescents and adults with grief and loss. Pat has also initiated therapeutic community arts projects for migrants and recently-arrived refugees, following experience working for Red Cross Refugee Services. A particular interest is incorporating mindfulness into her arts therapy practice. She has extensive experience as an educator (adults and children), frequently in multicultural settings, overseas and in New Zealand. 

Currently Working at: residential care homes offering art therapy for the elderly, Te Whare Ahuru, a secure mental health unit at Lower Hutt Hospital, and offers individual art therapy at Moera Community House.