Hello! I’m Jan. A Namibian-Canadian currently residing in the NWT, where I work with first-nations youth, children and families for the territory full time.
I hold an MA-equivalent degree in Art-Psychotherapy and am in the final stages of a Clinical MA in Psychology in addition. I’ve been working with adults, families and kids as a therapist for the last 5 years. I’m also a painter and creative writer.
My qualification as an Art-Psychotherapist, which I attained in B.C, Canada, was an exceptionally intensive 2 year program. This, unlike most modern psychology programs, focussed on the therapist working through their own wounds and coming to terms with the depth of their own pain. This allows a therapist the ability to be with another in the midst of their greatest pain and discomfort, and this modality of training (analysis) was the norm in analytical psychology and psychoanalytical as well as Gestalt modalities of training. As within, so without, in the famous paraphrased words of Carl Jung, echoing ancient philosophical observations.
My practice is strongly evidence based and integrates scientific modalities of thinking (clinical epistemologies and world-views) with right-brained, heart-centred and relational ways of self-knowing that have more tread (as in a tire) than the scientific method, historically speaking. Think about which organ of perception you use to form relationships – is it a purely logical sequence of trail and error, or do you use your heart, your dreams and your sense of joy to choose? For this reason, it is vital that a therapist can integrate and work in both of these world-views – as relationships are what shape, strengthen and hold us. But there is also technique, research and method.
I’ve provided extensive and broad mental health services for participants with referral reasons ranging from mild to severe. This spanned transitory anxiety or depression to psychosis, trauma, recurrent self-harm, suicide, developmental delays, life transitions, loss, psychological empowerment, dysregulated behaviour in general and eating disorders. This spanned DSM-IV and V disorders ranging from Axis 1 to Axis 2. Though I could continue to name various disorders that I’m able to work with and diagnoses are important information for me to have, what is more important, in my view, is to meet the client where they are at. Human to human, and not to see them as a diagnosis.
I also worked in a broad range of socio-economic status, culture and sub-culture groups. Treatment has involved safety planning, psycho-social resourcing, inter-agency coordination, relational safety and stabilization, education, reparative attachment and group psychotherapy, individual and dyad therapy, art-therapy and counselling approaches towards healings.
I further worked with adults in self-improvement, depth oriented groups, at-risk youth, transient clients, traumatized children, culturally shocked immigrants, a special needs group, youth experiencing life transitions, persons living with terminal illnesses and other psycho-emotional referral reasons.
I bring my broad-creative range to my practice, combined with a knack for depth-psychology and dream-work, Indigenous methods and cultural-intelligence. I’m also highly skilled with mindfulness practices, having been a meditator for over 15 years. This allows me to create a mindfully creative, healing experience.
Being an advent painter and creator of highly stylized, evocative artworks forms the centre-point for my practice as an art-therapist as well as the well of inspiration for my creative endeavours. Because of my wide creative palette, I’m able to offer psychotherapy through various artforms, including writing, poetry, visual art, installation art, movement, drama and others.
My undergraduate degree was in the creative arts, and I subsequently studied psychology, business administration and leadership programmes.
I subsequently began a journey with a Cherokee dream-technique known as Journeywork. This is similar to Jung’s ‘amplification’, the technique that shaped his ‘red book’. I have practiced this since 2006, and through this and following the messages in my dreams at night, as I learnt the lessons life had to teach me, I slowly took on, starting in 2010, what was at the time the immense burden of learning to be a psychotherapist. I’ve never looked back, and plan to be doing this until I am no longer able to work.
I continue to produce several paintings a month and I’m concluding a therapeutic case study book as well as a work of fiction, while shaping a model for the psycho-therapeutic transformation of clients. My life is centred around wellbeing and creativity.