The Australian Counselling Association (ACA) is a National progressive professional peak association of counsellors and psychotherapists with over 5,000 individual members

Professional Development


Type of Activity: Workshops & Seminars
Objective of Course / Workshop:

Working as a counsellor or therapist can be a difficult job as practitioners are often required to work with emotional, vulnerable and distressed people. It is important to have reliable self-care tools to avoid burnout, as the biggest demand is ongoing stress.

This intensive workshop is designed to support health practitioners – counsellors, psychotherapists, mental health clinicians, allied health professionals etc. - in dealing with vicarious trauma/ burnout through expressive arts for ongoing self-care in both their professional and personal development.

The workshop activities are aimed at teaching practitioners to understand the importance of self-care, to strengthen the connection with their sense of inner regulation and embodiment, and to release any current stress through artistic catharsis.

The objective of this intensive 1 day workshop is to interactively assist practitioners in discovering and experiencing effective tools for self-care using expressive art therapy approach – connecting, grounding and revitalising you from within.

Course / Workshop Outline:

9.45-10am               Registration

10-10.30am             Welcome and introduction into workshop

10.30am-12.30pm   Art Therapy session

12.30pm                  Lunch and optional mindfulness walk (weather permitting)

1.30 – 3.15pm         Art Therapy session continued

3.30 - 3.45pm         Tea break (herbal tea and fruits provided)

3.45 – 4.30pm        Finalise the art session/Relaxation Activity/Meditation

4.30 - 5pm              Closure

OPD points: 5
Course / Workshop content:

This intensive experiential workshop is created and run by health professionals for health professionals.

It will help practitioners deal with:
• Vicarious trauma
• Compassion fatigue
• Professional burnout 

The workshop incorporates a combination of Expressive Art therapies, Somatic Experiencing/relaxation and Mindfulness approaches. The workshop content is interactive, offering experiential exercises, self-inquiry, painting/drawing, creative journaling and the opportunity for self-reflection.

There is a growing body of evidence for the practice and efficacy of Expressive Arts Therapy. Latest research shows that Art Therapy is an effective intervention to work with and release deep seated unconscious material as the creative process enables a connection to and processing of sensory and feeling states that reach beyond the limits of verbal communication. The use of expressive techniques encourages people to perceive themselves and the world in new and different ways.

Another rationale for using expressive therapies are their effectiveness in facilitating change in those who have experienced trauma, including vicarious trauma and professional burnout. Expressive therapies offer a way of externalising these powerful experiences so they feel less threatening, which can lead to increased emotional processing and healing.

Throughout the day, practitioners will have an opportunity to explore and experience emotional and energetic release through the use of expressive art therapy, mindfulness and body processing, resulting in:

-          Creative flow

-          Catharsis

-          A new sense of self

-          Insight

-          Integration and connection

-          Renewed sense of wellbeing

-          Clarity and focus

All equipment and resources for art session are provided.

The workshop is held at the Govinda Valley Retreat Centre, located within the pristine Otford valley, one hour south of Sydney, nestled between mountains, boarded by a beautiful creek and national parks. The Centre offers personal retreat getaways where you can come to escape, relax, unwind and rejuvenate while joining in on our self-care program. Take time out to nurture and nourish your mind, body, soul and bring yourself back to balance as you re-align with the soothing, calming and revitalising effects of the enveloping forest, while immersing in the Govinda Valley Experience.

Start/End Date: 03/12/2019 to 03/12/2019
Time: 10:00:00 - 17:00:00
Presenter / Provider: Ghada El-Semaani and Natalia Zmicerevska
Contact Name: Ghada El-Semaani
Contact Phone: (02) 9540 5009
Contact Email:
Qualifications: Ghada El-Semaani:Bc Nat HSc (Highest Hon.), Dip of Counselling, Dip Rem Mas (Dist.), Hemaview Adv. Prac., Dip of Architecture; Natalia Zmicerevska:BPsych (Clin), Grad Dip Counselling, MPsych (Counselling)

Natalia Zmicerevska is a  Counsellor and Psychotherapist in private practice, as well as a Clinical Researcher at Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney; Clinical member of PACFA, Clinical Member of HTA (Holistic Therapists Australia). Natalia specialises in integrative holistic and transpersonal approaches to psychotherapy. She has facilitated groups, workshops and presentations in the area of body-mind processing, mindfulness, non-ordinary states of consciousness and dreamwork since 2007. Natalia also has more than 10 years experience conducting research studies and clinical trials in the area of youth mental health. 

Ghada El-Semaani has 15 years experience in clinical Naturopathy. Ghada has run various seminars, presentations and workshops on the topic of Naturopathy in Australia (at schools, gyms, community organisations) and overseas. She has also run professional health education seminars at her private practice and delivered presentations on the importance of healthy nutrition for school children and their parents.

Address: Govinda Valley Retreat Centre
Address 2: 51 Lady Carrington Road
Suburb: Otford Valley
State: NSW
Postcode: 2508
Parking: Free
Is there disability parking and entry? Yes
Are meals included with this event? Yes
If yes, what meals? Morning / Afternoon Tea & Lunch
Registration URL:
Cost ($): $279
Registration Instruction (if applicable):

To register, please go to:

Workshop fee: $279

Member Associations

pca cvi