Ellen Smallwood is an art therapist (M.A. Art Therapy, ATPQ) experienced in clinical, research, and community settings. Taking a client-centered and collaborative approach, Ellen creates a safe, non-judgmental space where clients can explore and identify complex emotions and personal challenges, using art as a mediator to enhance self-expression and communication.
Ellen currently works at the Jewish General Hospital in youth and child psychiatry, providing art therapy for clients aged 4-25 experiencing a wide variety of challenges, including parent-child relational issues, depression, anxiety, OCD, BPD, eating disorders, ADHD, social-relational issues, and complex trauma. At the Centre for the Arts in Human Development (Concordia University), Ellen worked with adults living with intellectual disabilities, as well as behavioural, psychological & neurological disorders such as autism spectrum disorders and Down’s syndrome. Ellen’s Master’s research study explored the psychosocial components of chronic conditions, specifically howgroup art therapy can impact self-esteem, wellness and quality of life for people with epilepsy. This pilot study took place at the Museé des Beaux-Arts de Montréal (MBAM) art hive in collaboration with Dr. Signy Sheldon (McGill University) and was presented at the 2018 Canadian Art Therapy Association conference. Ellen is an active contributor to the Art Hives network, facilitating groups in community settings such as with Concordia’s Centre for Gender Advocacy.
Ellen uses art as a pathway for clients to increase self-understanding, validate emotions, and feel empowered to reconstruct their personal narrative and healing process. She provides a supportive framework for the integration of creativity beyond the session to develop coping strategies, foster resiliency, contain anxiety, and encourage mindfulness and well-being, as well reduce self-destructive behaviours. She is passionate about the multifaceted platform of art therapy to promote wellness, stress reduction, and personal growth. There is no “good or bad” art in art therapy: whether a client has previous artistic experience or not, the artwork remains a tool for therapeutic exploration and self-discovery in a supportive setting.