Rachel Coppage
Art Therapist / Art Tutor

BA (Hons), Dip AT, MA

Rachel graduated from Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2006 with a Masters in Art Psychotherapy. Born deaf and brought up orally in England, Rachel at an early age identified the benefits of art making as therapeutic and an effective form of self expression. She was employed as art therapist to deaf patients at Rampton Special Hospital, Nottinghamshire. She had immigrated to New Zealand with her deaf family and is an active member of Auckland Deaf Society. She has established a private practice named RACEL, offering an unique art therapy service for Deaf people without the need of a sign language interpreter. With an interest in forensics, she has tried to advocate for improved access to therapeutic intervention for deaf inmates at the Department of Corrections faculties.

Rachel has been actively involved in advocating for specialised Deaf Mental Health services with the Coalition of Deaf Mental Health Professionals and has undertaken research into Deaf people with mental health needs and their experiences and into models of culturally appropriate services to meet the sociolinguistic needs of the Deaf community whose language is New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL), one of the country’s two official languages. 

 Rachel, in her spare time, paints Deaf-themed images, portraying the mutual benefits of art and sign language, both being visual-spatial-gestural languages (iconic and symbolic), mirroring the Deaf Gain concept that everyone, not just Deaf people, will be able to access => a barrier-free Aotearoa, is one of Rachel’s several ambitions for a fully accessible society. 

 Rachel currently lectures on Deaf Studies at AUT for NZSL-English interpreting students and serves on the Combined Board of Deaf Education Centres as a parent representative. 

Banner image: Matthew Tucker, Infinity, 2014