Demand for the limited number of places on the Whitecliffe Arts Therapy programmes, which focus on visual arts drama, and dance/movement as expressive modalities for therapy, continues to grow each year. In 2016 the Postgraduate Diploma, the foundation year for the programme, was offered in both Christchurch and Auckland. The students who entered programme in that year are now in the final third year the Masters of Arts in Arts Therapy this year and are the largest cohort so far for the department.
They recently completed their fourth and final intensive seminar for the year. HOD Arts Therapy Amanda Levey comments, “This year’s cohort, even though they were a large group connected really well with each other and it was an absolute pleasure to see them so fully engaged with the programme and with each other”.
As a gift to the faculty and future students, the group of 20 each created a panel that contributed to a quilted blanket that was filled with river stones. Weighted blankets are used to help those suffering from autism, anxiety or stress as it calms the nervous system and helps promote relaxation. Throughout the intensive seminars, Amanda has brought in a weighted blanket for any student who felt nervous before presentations to use to calm themselves. So for the faculty and department to be gifted one made by the students has symbolic significance and is a tangible reminder of this special group of students. Commenting on the gift, Amanda says “we were all absolutely overwhelmed with emotion at the thoughtfulness of this gesture, knowing how much work and time it must have taken to create it. It is a gift that will be treasured by the department and future cohorts.”