Art Therapy

Art Therapy is the planned use of ‘art making’ to assist the wellbeing of people with identified emotional, spiritual, social or physical needs.

Ellyn Rose Smith Whatley - Art Therapist

Ellyn Rose Smith Whatley – Art Therapist

Our Art Therapist, Ellyn Rose Smith Whatley, is experienced in working with people of all ages dealing with death and grief. Ellyn Rose will work with you, your children, family and whānau members throughout the time of illness, dying and in bereavement individually or in family groups. Art Therapy enables reflection, understanding, commemoration and expression of feelings in a safe, supportive and confidential environment.

Art Therapy differs from making art in school, because the purpose of creating art may relate to your life experience, help to make sense of feelings or just be a desire to connect with something meaningful. Often people will express surprise at how natural and enjoyable they find doing art. You do not have to be artistic or talented to make something beautiful. Art can provide a chance to try something new at a time when choices and capacities are limited.

Patients might construct a memory book, string a beaded sun catcher or gift pendant, engage in sensory exploration, assemble a special greeting card, capture the imprint of a hand or thumbprint, work on a family project, paint a ‘memory stone’ or just ‘chill out’ from mental stress.

Family members may want to create something for the funeral or burial, or fashion a ritual object that represents their love. Children find they feel less scared of hospice after Art Therapy sessions and are more at ease getting help when they need it. Patients and carers may also attend a Studio Art class to meet artists in the community and explore different art media to improve their quality of life.

Art Therapy is offered on a Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8.30am – 5.00pm.

If you would like to know more about our Art Therapy, please contact Ellyn Rose on 04 569 0685 or email