© 2017 by Karma Barnes. Proudly created with Wix.com


A R T   T H E R A P Y   N O R T H E R N  R I V E R S

Masters & Grad.Cert Expressive & Creative Arts Therapy | BA Art & Creativity


Australia, NZ & Asian Creative Arts Therapies Association



The creative arts therapies are based on the idea that creativity enhances the well-being of all people and is a natural aspect of all cultures and human experience. It is an experiential psychotherapeutic approach utilising many creative modalities within a therapeutic relationship with a trained therapist. It is holistic – attending to emotional, cognitive, physical and spiritual well-being – and aligns well with indigenous models of health and well-being. 

The arts therapies are a form of psychotherapy utilising creative modalities, including. Visual Art-Making, Drama, and Dance/Movement, within a therapeutic relationship to improve and inform physical, mental and emotional well-being.


Creative Arts Therapy uses the materials of the Visual Arts such as Paint, Clay, Pastels, Crayons, Collage as well as Voice, Writing, Movement, Role play. and Sand play. This can help clients to express the inexpressible, foster self-awareness, cope with difficulties and stress, facilitate your recovery and explore new ways of being. Expressive Arts Therapy is particularly useful for people who may be struggling to articulate their experiences and feelings as the arts can provide a way in. Children and young people often respond well to this form of counselling as it is non-threatening and offers them options about how to explore what they need to.

The creative arts therapies use creative processes to help clients explore and express unconscious material that is often difficult to articulate in words. These methods are innovative, participatory and practical: they provide a supportive space for participants to ‘try on’ and practise new behaviours, and this can be more effective than merely talking about change. Creativity harnesses the imagination and a sense of play. This can help those who have limited choices in their life to use the safe space of the therapeutic environment to learn to tolerate the uncertainty of the unknown, and to become more comfortable to be able to improvise and open up new possibilities in their lives. A key feature of the creative arts therapies is that the processes are often pleasurable. This means that using the arts we are more likely to practice new patterns of more healthy behaviour. The activities practiced in this treatment model can thus provide new hobbies and interests which are vital for ongoing self-support. 

Contemporary neurobiological research into trauma suggests that trauma has a powerful physical component and thus the first step in addressing trauma should attend to embodied trauma responses. Because the creative arts therapies are based on body awareness they can effectively address trauma and emotional and physical dysregulation. Creative arts therapies can increase resilience by improving the sense of agency and self-understanding through the ability to express feelings symbolically. This can give new perspectives on oneself and on one’s world view, which is essential in the recovery process. 

The creative arts therapies can be practised with individual clients, families and groups. Group work is cost effective and also may counter loneliness and isolation; give opportunities to practise social skills and relationship building in a supportive environment; and can facilitate sense of participation, belonging and community. Creativity can connect us with a sense of meaning and also a means of communicating this to others. This approach can provide soothing and satisfying activities that can counter boredom and lack of engagement and provide the experience of safety, empowerment and the relief of symptoms of anxiety and/or depression through symbolic expression. - ANZACATA





I am a Registered Creative and Expressive Art Therapist specializing in Art Therapy with Adolescents. I use Creative and Expressive Art Therapy approaches coupled with Counseling, Positive Psychology, Mindfulness-Based Practices and procedures in working with young people to support them to understand more their life experiences and to facilitate positive changes in their lives. I employ a range of modalities in sessions including Visual Arts, Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Mask-making, Sand Tray, Writing, Journaling and Movement.


I produce and deliver specific programs suited to the needs of organisations and their clients. I work individually with clients and facilitate groups including art therapy programs and art projects. I also hold extensive experience in working with women’s groups, Indigenous & cultural groups, special needs & disabilities and community social & health organizations.

Organizations that I have worked with include Lismore Women’s Refuge, Family and Community Service, Juvenile Justice,  UPA Youth Care, Many Hands International (Timor Leste), Byron Youth Service, Child & Adolescent Specialist Program & Accommodation (CASPA), Medicare Local NT, Accommodation Network, Evans Head Neighborhood Center and The Tara Children's Project (Bihar, India)

I practice MIECAT- Based Experiential Therapy and employ Counseling, Multi-Modal, Arts-Based, Positive Psychology and Mindfulness-Based practices and procedures. My work takes place with clients in a present-moment context and seeks to make sense of a clients "lived-experience" through a combination of Art Therapy and Counseling processors.

I have extensive experience facilitating high quality programs suited to a range of abilities, ages and contexts. I am available to write and tailor a program plan to suit your group or organization. I work throughout Australia and New Zealand and am based in the Northern Rivers Region of NSW.




Individual Art Therapy Sessions specializing in Adolescents

Group Art Therapy Sessions

Therapeutic Youth Mentoring

Therapeutic Arts and Well-Being Programs

✩ Sessions Currently Available in throughout Northern Rivers & Southern Gold Coast 

✩ Recommended 4-6 initial sessions

✩ Group programs are available and can be designed and delivered to suit client and organisational requirements 

To discuss bookings for sessions please  or for more details particular to your group or organization please contact me via my contact page or  email karmabarnes@live.com for my referral process and to obtain a referral form for clients.



✩ Relaxation
✩ Increased Well-being
✩ Insight into Illness
✩ Self-expression
✩ Self-confidence
✩ Personal Growth
✩ Positive Socialisation
✩ Reduction in Stress and Anxiety
✩ Increase in Self Awareness
✩ Processing difficult Experiences
✩ Enhanced cognitive abilities
✩ Positive self-identity

   (ANZATA 2012)

S E S S I O N S   P R O V I D E 

  • Art therapy supports:

  • Self-awareness and ways to express feelings

  • Self-esteem, confidence and positive self-identity

  • Communication and social skills

  • Art therapy offers a nonthreatening way for teens to express their inner feelings

  • Flexible thinking and spontaneity

  • Motivation to clarify and work through inner experiences

  • Mindfulness tools

  • Regular progress reports to caseworkers and organizations.

“Through art I was able to bring grace into my life. I took the things that were most bothersome and made them the subject matter of art. The toxin became the antitoxin, the medicine of art.”

-Shaun McNiff, Art As Medicine

  • Black Instagram Icon