Creativity is like freedom: once you taste it, you cannot live without it. It is a transformational force, enhancing self-esteem and self-empowerment.
Alleviate is a private arts therapy service based in Mt Eden, Auckland. Amanda Levey is the director of the company and is a registered psychologist and professional arts therapist, trained extensively in the Halprin Method in the USA. She specialises in the relationship between body feelings, emotions and well-being and provides creative arts therapy to individuals and couples, and runs workshops and participatory creative projects.
“Until I experienced working creatively with my emotional issues, I had few ways of making any significant changes or growth in my life, as talking and insight have never tended to influence my mood or behaviour. Once I started my training in the Halprin method I experienced an enormous shift in how I relate to myself and others and the work gave me the means to create maps for myself to find new pathways of being in the world. I hope through my work to introduce to others the resources to create their own maps and pathways…”
– Amanda Levey
Creative Arts Therapy has emerged in the past several decades as an innovative approach towards well-being. Previous arts experience is not required, as the emphasis is on the creative process rather than the product. Creative arts therapy is suitable for all ages, and can be particularly helpful for those who may be experiencing life changes, trauma, relationship issues, lack of confidence, illness or disabilities. It can be very useful when it is difficult to find words to adequately express feelings, or when a person tends to over-verbalise, thus blocking the true emotional and authentic expression of feeling. It is in our creativity that we find expression for that which disturbs us and for that which we want to celebrate.
Amanda Levey studied psychology at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and subsequently trained extensively in the Halprin Method in the USA. This model is an integration of movement/dance, visual arts, performance techniques and therapeutic practices. She gained her MA in arts therapy at Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design in Auckland, New Zealand. She has worked extensively in movement-based arts therapy for over 20 years. In addition to her private practice, Amanda is the Head of Department of the Masters of Arts in Arts Therapy at Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design, and the current president of the Australian and New Zealand Arts Therapy Association. Her own creative pursuits include: video, dance and collaborative participatory performance.
servicesThere is no such thing as creative and non-creative people, only people who use their creativity and people who don’t.Creative arts therapy sessions with Amanda involve a combination of creative activities and talking, with Amanda and the client working collaboratively to find ways of exploring issues that is comfortable and non-threatening, yet novel enough for something new to happen. She mostly sees women, and as well can see men, couples and works with groups by arrangement.
Professional supervision sessions are available for arts therapists and anyone working in the helping professions.
How do Creative Arts Therapies help?
- Increase the ability to identify and express feelings that are difficult to discuss or too complex for words alone.
- Stimulate imagination and creativity.
- Discover the power of playfulness and fun.
- Themes and patterns from our lives can be revealed to us.
- The symbols that we create can contain valuable information about our lives.
- When we create positive images through our art and/or enact new movement patterns or roles, we create new maps for ourselves.
- Develop healthy coping and self-care skills.
- Increase the ability to focus on inner experience and to enhance relaxation and ease.
- Increase self-esteem and confidence.
- Identify and clarify issues and concerns.
- Increase communication skills.
- A safe nurturing environment that encourages authentic self-expression.
- Development of self-awareness and confidence.
- Ability to identify blocks to emotional expression and personal growth.
Amanda has facilitated and co-facilitated workshops in the creative arts therapies with many different intentions and audiences.
The Moving Self An experiential workshop exploring the connection between artistic and therapeutic movement
Health and Well-being A diagnosis of an illness such as cancer and the ensuing medical interventions is a traumatic experience that can distance a person from their body, and negatively affect body image and self-esteem. Creative arts therapies can help a person to re-connect with their body and emotions as a way of processing and making meaning of their experiences.
Recently she has co-facilitated with several colleagues An Open Session of Collaborative Play, for participants who are comfortable to work with movement, improvisation, performance and collaborative creativity. Participants experience the vulnerability and excitement of our individual and shared experience emerging.
Movement & Environment /Video & Photography workshops:
In March 2009 Amanda organised and co-facilitated a three day workshop at Whatipu on Auckland’s wild west coast with Halprin master teacher G. Hoffman Soto. Photos
More workshops in the environment utilising video and photography are planned, contact Amanda to be on the database.
Amanda Levey has run many masterclasses and workshops for Australia and New Zealand Arts Therapy Association (ANZATA) such as: “Working with Anxiety and Trauma” –Movement-based multi-modal work has proved particularly effective for working with such clients, as these issues have a strong physiological component.
She has also presented at conferences in Singapore, and Korea to introduce working with the body, movement and intermodal creative arts therapies.
This was a collaborative project that grew out of a conversation with friend and gilder, Sarah Guppy who talked of wanting to gild a pair of doors. Immediately I imagined where one might end up going through golden doors. Asking others to join me, we made movement responses to the four elements (earth, water, air, fire) and made a video work showing us going through the golden doors and entering nature. Then this was presented in an installation at the first Auckland Fringe Festival in 2009. Visitors could view the video and then pass through the doors into a big studio space where music was playing and four projectors were projecting video footage of each element. These were at body height so that the shadows of participants showed on the projections.
Psycholie à Deux
This is a creative partnership with fellow psychologist, Rachel Grimwood. Our name plays on the Freudian term ‘folie à deux’ meaning “the presence of the same delusional ideas in two persons” & ‘pas de deux’ meaning a dance duet. I was invited to be part of a group exhibition, ‘Desire Lines’ at Artstation in 2010, and Rachel and I made a video called ‘Psycholie à Deux goes to Town’, exploring the theme of women being playful in an urban environment. Many women who viewed it expressed a desire to be able to join the fun so this led to a series of participatory events with handbags, called ‘Sexy Old Bags’ (ie. the bags are old we are the sexy ones). Psycholie à Deux was accompanied by Swami PKS Juli Patchouli, yoga instructor to the stars, who led ‘yoga with handbags’. We performed at Auckland Fringe festival 2011, leading to a video called “Sexy Old Bags at the Fringe.” We also performed at Waiheke’s Rocky Bay Variety Show, Wellington Fringe 2012, and did some ‘activation’ of CBD sites in Auckland in early 2012. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Psycholie-à-Deux/
There are some great books about the Halprin method in which I was trained:
Halprin, A. (1995). Moving toward life: Five decades of transformational dance. Hanover and London: Wesleyan University Press.
This is a book about Anna’s artistic life over her long career.
Halprin, A. (2000). Dance as a healing art: Returning to health through movement & imagery. Medicino, CA: LifeRhythm.
This is a very accessible manual of how Anna works with her method, mostly in relation to people with health issues, but it is also very helpful for other issues.
Halprin, D. (2003). The expressive body in life, art and therapy. Working with movement, metaphor and meaning. London and New York: Jessica Kingsley.
This is a great resource of how to work therapeutically with movement.Other books:
Beck, M. (2001). Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.
This is a very helpful, accessible and funny book.
Wax, R. (2013). Sane New World: Taming the Mind, London, UK: Hodder and Stoughton Ltd.
Comedian Ruby Wax talks about her own mental health struggles and gives some very easy to understand explanations of neuropsychology.TED Talks
Brene Brown: All about the power of vulnerability. Inspiring and helpful
To inquire or to make an appointment please contact Amanda:
Email: click here
Tel: 021 0237 2963
Amanda’s practice is in Mt Eden, Auckland. The address will be supplied on appointment.