Muse Art Therapy and Counselling’s owner Dawn Olson has over fifteen years’ experience leading psychotherapy and art therapy sessions for groups and individuals in Victoria, BC. While serving a wide range of clientele and therapeutic issues, Dawn specializes in helping women with depression, anxiety and relationship problems to live more meaningful and satisfying lives.
Dawn’s credentials include registration with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors and the Canadian Art Therapy Association. She holds a Master’s of Education degree in Counselling Psychology and a Post-Master’s certificate in Art Therapy.
Dawn enjoys many forms of art, but loves paper-based art the best.
Dawn has provided her services to a broad range of clinical and community agencies, including:
Dawn is an incredibly knowledgeable and skilled therapist. Her broad range of clinical mental health experience, together with her personal sensitivity, shine brightly in her professional counselling role. Dawn is both resourceful and creative in her therapeutic approach and her natural ability to use art as a medium to support the journey of recovery is an added bonus! Grace Van Horn MSW, Team Leader Eating Disorders Program in the Ministry of Children and Family Development
Dawn draws on many evidence-based therapeutic models including:
A most inspiring and delightful experience … Dawn is masterful at identifying and leading discussions towards helpful insights; a powerful and inspiring strength! Dawn was very thoughtful and considerate of every level of need or comfort, She was very skillful in listening to eight different individuals, then thoughtfully offering new insights, and in the end drawing our day to a satisfying conclusion. Phyllis Girard, Story Lines workshop participant.
Who are adult workshops, events, and groups for? Almost anyone: established women’s or men’s groups, community groups, corporations, family or friend groups, church groups, sports, or other teams. Art workshops and events can be used to support professional development, retreats, team building, and celebrations.
What can adult art workshops, events, and groups provide? Participants say they learn a lot about themselves and others and that this makes them feel more connected to the group. They also say they find the experience enlivening and confidence-inspiring. And they just plain have fun!
But I’m not good at art! (…or someone in the group says they haven’t got an artistic bone in their body): Perhaps the key talent of an art therapist is in skillfully helping art-anxious folks to get around their fears and engage their creative side. Dawn will help the art-fearful do what they are convinced they are unable to do.
But I’m not good at art! You may be thinking this is not for you because you’re ‘not good at art’ or because you’ve had a bad art experience. This is not uncommon but the fact is that previous art experience or ability is not required. As an art therapist Dawn is skillful at helping people work around their art fears.
Cost: Fees vary. Contact to enquire.
“The children’s performance art event was truly a mysterious, wonderful piece of living art.” Ingrid Hilyer, BA, Parent and Retired Licensed Childcare Provider.
“Dawn treats our kids respectfully, like the real artists she believes them to be. The children blossom under her gentle attention. They create exciting pieces and beautiful memories.” Eva Bild MA, CD (DONA), LCCE, Parent, Childbirth Educator, Doula and owner of Mothering Touch
“Artist quality materials and thoughtfully structured projects are partnered with openness to outcome and Dawn’s supportive and encouraging presence.” Stephanie Ippen, BEd, Teacher Librarian
Who are children’s art workshops, events, and groups for? Almost any group of children. Dawn believes that children are naturally driven to create. As part of their play, they spontaneously create objects, stories, and environments from whatever they have at hand. These activities are very important because they are joyful and satisfying. But creativity and play are also essential work for children’s healthy development. A child who creates is a child who grows a healthier brain and who becomes a more resilient, resourceful, and interesting adult—an adult engaged by life. One way groups are formed is through parents organizing friend groups to create a self-selected group. Children who dislike art and/or who don’t do well in groups would not be suited to Dawn’s offerings.
What can children’s art workshops, events, and groups provide for my child? Delight and wonder, relaxation, increased problem-solving and social skills, and strengthened confidence.
What can children’s art workshops, events, and groups provide for me as a parent? All of the above benefits for your child and a place for your child to make a glorious creative mess and try a wide range of media.
Cost: Contact to enquire.
Dawn Olson is an Art Therapist par excellence. She has a gentle way of approaching difficult problems, whether working with adults or children. She is always my first choice when I am referring someone to an art therapist. Lucille Proulx MA, ATR, RCAT Co-Director of The Canadian International Institute of Art Therapy and Former Executive Director of The BC School of Art Therapy
Dawn draws on many evidence-based therapeutic models including:
In Art Therapy, Dawn uses the above approaches as well as phenomenology and attachment theory. Engaging with the creative process and with the artwork itself can contribute to self-understanding, self-growth, and increased wellbeing.
My work as a clinician at VIHA’s mental health intake has shown me that the availability of mental health services in Victoria is less than is needed. For your patients who need more than lay-counselling, but are not acute enough to qualify for VIHA service, there are limited options.
As their primary health care provider, you want your patient to receive skillful, responsible clinical care from someone you and your patient can trust. Years of clinical experience on multidisciplinary mental health teams mean I can offer you and your patients the utmost level of quality and secure care.
I serve individuals age 16 and older, treating a wide range of issues, including: low to moderate acuity anxiety and depression, relationship problems, eating disorders, life transitions, stress, and work issues. I use evidence-based approaches, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy.
Because I am a registered clinical counsellor, extended health plans generally cover my fee (up to a specified amount per year).
A no-cost, preliminary phone discussion with your patient allows me to assess whether I am able to provide what your patient needs.
In addressing problems of anxiety and depression, I help your patient identify their own goals.
I may also work on:
Art therapy is different from counselling in that the process of making art, and the art product itself, can provide information for the client that helps them understand themselves and their situation better, figure out what is needed in order to move forward, and feel better overall.
While some people decide to see an art therapist because they already know they find strength and healing in creative expression, others choose art therapy because they can’t find the words to describe their problems or experiences. And, there are those who choose art therapy because they see themselves as underdeveloped or inhibited creatively. For everyone, art therapy has the potential to teach them about themselves and expand their sense of who they are and what they are capable of.
Art therapy sessions include both art making and talking. Each session is unique and is shaped by the needs of the client during the session. Usually, the client chooses from available art materials to make whatever they wish. Sometimes, the art therapist provides a starting point or specific art activity that is suited to the client’s therapeutic needs.
There is no wrong or right way to do art therapy and no artistic ability is required. Whatever is made will be ‘right’ and is usually illuminating for the client. This is the chief power of art therapy; the paradox that the artwork itself provides new information to the client—about the client—helping them learn more about who they are and where they need to go.
People sometimes seek the assistance of a counsellor when they feel distressed because of anxiety, depression, or relationship problems. Life transitions and normal developmental phases can be very challenging. Individuals may feel at a loss as to how to make changes that will leave them feeling better and acting more effectively. Talking with a counsellor can relieve stress, reinforce strengths and abilities, and reveal new perspectives and solutions.
Counselling sessions provide an opportunity for individuals to be heard and responded to from a respectful, compassionate and fresh perspective. It is the counsellor’s role to help clients focus on the issues of concern to them, set meaningful goals, and explore the obstacles and pathways to those goals.
While every counselling session is different, clients usually find that at the end of the session they feel better, stronger, and have new strategies for addressing their problems.
Individual therapy: $135 per hour plus tax.
Workshops, events, and groups: Fees vary. Please contact Dawn for more information.
Dawn accepts payment by cash, cheque, or email transfer.
Some extended health care plans cover all or a portion of Dawn’s fee. Contact your extended health care provider for details of your coverage.