Muse Art Therapy and Counselling’s owner Dawn Olson has over ten 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 professional membership in both the Canadian and American Art Therapy Associations. She holds a Master’s of Education degree in Counselling Psychology and a Post-Master’s certificate in Art Therapy.
Dawn continues to train in various forms of art herself. Her favourite techniques are drawing and collage.
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:
Who For adults with depression, anxiety, and/or low self-esteem. Self-referrals and referrals from doctors and other health care providers are accepted. A pre-interview is required.
What Materials, activities, support, and education specifically designed to assist the client in experiencing increased positive emotion and confidence, and also in becoming more active and less fearful.
When Groups are formed when there are sufficient participants. Call or email Dawn to enquire.
Fee 8 weekly 2-hour sessions. $800 plus GST (16 hrs).
Story Lines – A one-day cozy retreat designed to nourish your spirit and mind. Revisit a favourite childhood story and follow the lines of its impact and influence on you. A passage from one of your treasured childhood books will be the springboard to your self-discovery and self-expression. The day’s activities will include some writing and art (to take home), but you need no talent or experience with either. This is not a therapy group, nor is it an art class.
Who For you! – if you are 18 or older and interested in looking back at a childhood book and character you loved – for fun and self-discovery. Maximum eight participants.
When Saturday, May 17th, 10pm to 4pm. There will be a one hour lunch break; bring your own lunch or try one of the nearby restaurants.
Fee The workshop fee is $125 plus GST and includes all art materials, (gorgeous ‘painted paper’ will be prepared for you to use), a simple journal, snack, and tea.
Who Children and teens ages 5 through 14.
What Art classes for children and teens. Dawn is committed to offering classes children want to come to. She accomplishes this by appreciating each child’s unique interests and strengths. Her focus is on striking a balance between supporting their spontaneous artistic expression and teaching them art skills. Dawn designs the curriculum from session to session, so she can respond to each group’s needs and interests.
Dawn offers a wide range of media including mark making, sculpture, and clay. Time is always given to developing drawing skills, learning about contour lines, value, negative space, and more. These skills are no less challenging and just as vital as developing numeracy and literacy skills.
When A class for children ages 5 through 7 is on Mondays from 3:30 to 5:00pm. A class for children ages 8 through 11 is on Wednesdays from 3:30pm to 5:00pm.
Classes are available in two-month blocks (Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec, etc). Check with Dawn about the possibility of your child joining mid-stream.
Please note that a waitlist is in place for children age 12 to 14. If you are interested, call or email Dawn to have your child’s name and your contact information added to the waitlist.
Fees The fee for children’s art classes is $15 per hour plus GST. A small discount is available for enrolment of multiple children from the same family.
Dawn designs content and format to suit your needs. Contact Dawn to enquire.
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.
What is art enrichment for adults? Dawn’s adult art enrichment workshops and groups are designed to reacquaint adults with the pleasure of making something the way they did when they were children (or wished they could have as children) – spontaneously and without judgment. Dawn selects materials and activities to fit the theme and needs of the group and then helps the participants experiment with materials and their own ideas.
Who is art enrichment for? Almost anyone: individuals, women’s or men’s groups, family or friend groups, church groups, teams, and corporate groups.
What can art enrichment provide? The answer varies. Some groups use it for professional development, retreats, team building, and celebrations. Individual and group participants have reported increased knowledge of self and others, a sense of renewal, an expanded sense of what is possible, and a greater sense of personal strength and confidence. Groups have reported feeling reinvigorated and more bonded.
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. Call Dawn to enquire.
Note Art enrichment groups and workshops are not intended as, and do not provide, a place for processing of therapeutic issues.
“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
What is art enrichment for children? Dawn’s art classes for children blend a focus on self-expression with learning new techniques and approaches to art. Dawn provides children with art projects that are fun to do, that engage their creative abilities, and that allow expression of their unique personalities and interests.
What can art enrichment give my child? Skills in innovative problem solving, pleasure, increased self-knowledge, social connection, experiences of wonder, and increased confidence.
Dawn’s philosophy is 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, creative and playful activity is also essential work for children’s healthy development. A child who creates is a child who grows a healthier brain and becomes a more resilient, innovative, and interested adult – an adult engaged by life.
For costs and times click here.
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 significantly contribute to self-understanding, self-growth, and increased wellbeing.
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 $125 per hour plus tax.
Group therapy $60 per hour plus tax.
One-day workshops Fees vary. Please call for more information
Children’s art classes (these are not therapy) $15 per hour plus tax.
Dawn accepts payment by cash, cheque and credit card.
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.
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. Both group and individual formats are available. 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). For patients who want to stretch their therapy dollar, my group sessions may be an option since the fee is less than half the cost of individual sessions.
For individual therapy, I assess whether I may be able to provide what your patient needs through a preliminary phone discussion with them. For group, an in-person, pre-group interview is required in order to confirm your patient’s fit for group.
In my anxiety and depression groups, my goals are to