Education and Credentials
I hold a Master of Arts degree in Expressive Arts Therapy and Psychology from the European Graduate School in Leuk Staadt, Switzerland. During my studies I had the opportunity to learn with international faculty from the United States, Canada, Germany, Norway, and Switzerland. I am also a certified Seeking Safety (trauma recovery) facilitator, and a certified Dialectical Behaviour Therapy facilitator.
I am a registered member of the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors and a professional member of the British Columbia Art Therapy Association.
I have years of experience providing counselling and art therapy to adults, children, and adolescents with diverse backgrounds, strengths, and challenges. I have worked with individuals facing trauma symptoms, anxiety, depression, addiction, grief and loss, life transitions, divorce, issues relating to sexual identity, gender identity, and coming out, as well as relationship issues.
In addition to private practice, I have worked in Vancouver Coastal Health and Provincial Health Services facilities providing treatment to adults with concurrent mental health concerns and addictions. I have also worked in local and inner city elementary schools. My primary area of clinical focus has been in working with those recovering from trauma. I am also particularly interested in working with young adults who are working to find their way in the world while developing a sense of identity that feels right.
In my practice as a clinician my goal is to work towards innovation. Sometimes this includes my own careful tailoring of therapeutic techniques to meet the needs of my clients. Bringing innovation into my practice also means staying connected to the powerful innovations and developments occurring in the fields of psychology and art therapy. I am deeply inspired by pioneering approaches such as Lisa Najavits' Seeking Safety program, Cathy Malchiodi's Trauma Informed Art Therapy approach, and the research and writings of Allan Schore, Daniel Siegel, and Louis Cozolino whose life works have taught me about the neurobiology of affect regulation and attachment. All of these innovators have influenced my work as a clinician and as a researcher.
I believe that research is the key to moving forward as a field in our understanding of how to best help ourselves and our clients attain total health. Based on this belief in research, I choose to implement research based interventions in my clinical practice. With the hope of contributing to the field of art therapy and further developing a practice I deeply believe in, I am also committed to conducting my own research. I am currently the primary investigator on a pilot study exploring the possibility that art therapy may enhance treatment outcomes for individuals recovering from trauma and substance abuse.
I feel strongly about using and developing my skills to contribute to my communities both professionally and personally. To this end I have co-founded an expressive therapies focused clinic called The Centre for Creative Counselling in Vancouver, BC. It is my hope that this clinic will provide a community of practice for expressive therapists in the city. In founding this community, the goal is equally to enhance the visibility and accessibility of the expressive and embodied psychotherapies in Vancouver. Ultimately my intention is to reach the people looking for these kinds of healing modalities so that they are able to receive the gifts of healing and creative growth available through these modalities.
In all of these ways, the values and practices of research, innovation, and contribution comprise the foundation of my work as a helper in the field and as an individual in the context of my larger communities. I feel immense gratitude for having found a career that I love and work that feeds my heart and soul.
Laura Dosanjh, MA RCC