Your support of The Repat Foundation – The Road Home not only provides essential funding for research into the conditions that affect our nation’s heroes, it also is being used to help patients at the Repatriation General Hospital (RGH) on their road home to recovery.

Part of this is the Art Trolley project, a welcome sight for patients at the RGH allowing them to enjoy a creative break from the hospital routine and treatment. In addition to the Art Trolley, practicing Transpersonal Art Therapist Karin Foxwell, is part of this project after coming on board for a work experience placement in 2015.

Karin felt so connected to the people she was helping that she has stayed on as a volunteer, continuing to support patients – thank you to Karin for her amazing commitment!

“Creative Arts Therapies in hospitals is a necessary part of a medical setting and needs to be incorporated as a standard part of the healing process as it is in the UK and US,” Karin said.

“Art Therapies in a repatriation setting is particularly effective where people are healing from life changing traumatic events. It presents opportunity for a patient to express themselves truthfully, confidentially and safely through simple metaphorical mark making (and other mediums) that tells their story. The patient hears and identifies with that story being told and this allows a shift in perception of their current circumstance.

Karin has seen patients benefit from as little as one Art Therapy session and said “much can be achieved in a short time and this experience is developed over several sessions if a patient is residential for some weeks or months.

“Art Therapy helps people access their ‘internal world’ (which is not often spoken about) and seems to enlarge their capability and capacity to cope and deal with what’s going on in their life. Arts Therapies utilise the belief that all individuals already have the answers to their doubts and concerns. With minimal direction from the Therapist, it is in the creative process that opens up the unconscious to identify feelings to better understand how to find motivation and therefore strategies for a positive future. When the patient feels heard and understood by the Therapist, true healing can take place.

“Over time a patient will look at their initial drawings and are amazed at their own progress through their own personal story in images/mark making. We can literally ‘see’ in their images the transformation of where they were, where they are now and it often clarifies for them, where they are going from here.

“Art Therapy can also be utilised to confirm a positive outcome. An example of this happened on Ward B where a patient, soon to be discharged, wanted to thank the staff but didn’t know how. We worked on that for half an hour when the doctors arrived in the room. She was so clear in her mind about what she wanted to say and showed this in her drawing, it moved the doctors almost to tears.”

“Volunteering with The Repat Foundation – The Road Home on Wards A and B at the RGH, is one of the highlights in my life. I learn so much from the patients and the staff, who are working everyday to make others well and happy.

“Often I’ll go past with the Art Therapy trolley and I’ll see someone sitting in the corner of their room, dressed and ready for the day, but just sitting and looking at the door. With a listening ear, a smile and Art, magic can happen.”

Thanks to your donations, we can continue to fund the Art Therapy Program through the Veterans’ Health and Wellbeing Project.

If you would like more information, please get in touch with the Program Manager on 08 7002 0880 or contactus@theroadhome.com.au.



Would you like to learn more about the Art Therapy Program?