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Using art as a means of counselling

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DONNA Hensen is a business owner who frequently visits the Whitsundays to showcase her wide range of contemporary Aboriginal art, as well offering therapeutic counselling workshops.

Her two businesses are Donna Hensen Designs and Donna Hensen Consultancy and are open to people of all backgrounds and experiences.

“My therapeutic workshops are now entitled ‘The Magic of Aboriginal Art Counselling Therapy’,” Ms Hensen, 59, said.

“These workshops give your subconscious the opportunity to tell your story through art. It’s an authentic and unique counselling session.”

Ms Hensen, who is based in Brisbane, said her culture gives her unique wisdom to help others.

“I’m a Wailwan/Wiradjuri woman, now based in Brisbane. I’m an Aboriginal artist, educator, and therapist,” she said.  

“I’ve worked all over Australia supporting my mob in their process of healing. However, the majority of my clients now are people from all backgrounds.

“My culture gives me unique wisdom and methodology to help people in a nurturing was that mainstream counselling doesn’t allow for.”

Ms Hensen said her Aboriginal Counselling methodology jumpstarts a very important way of thinking.

“My Indigenous culture provides the grounding of everything I do. From dreaming my paintings, to their stories and especially with my Aboriginal Counselling methodology,” she said.

“This provides an experience that is not found anywhere else and jumpstarts real understanding for my clients on their past, present and future journey.”

While Ms Hensen frequently receives positive feedback from her clients, she finds herself struggling to engage in self-promotion.

“My culture is not one to ‘big note’ or promote oneself,” she said.

“This is a regular struggle for me, as my business is reliant on my doing this. My clients always give amazing feedback and testimonies, which can be found on my website.”

By using art as a means of counselling, Ms Hensen hopes that she can help take away some of the fears people have of counselling.

“I would like to change the way counselling is provided for people especially at the first consultation…no more reliving your trauma to a stranger at the first meeting,” she said.

“This is such a scary prospect that people hold off from seeking the help and support they need.

“By using art to tell their story, it is a softer and more effective technique for the client. It builds a stronger rapport for all parties, so that the healing journey is a more pleasurable and self-directed journey.”

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