Stroke Art Therapy

FRIDAYS 10AM  – 12.30PM

The next art therapy programme is scheduled to start April 5 2019.
Cost $100 for 12 week programme. (Includes all materials)

Enquiries & enrolments
Contact: Diana McPherson
P: 09 845 5361 

Deidre Parr - Tui web.jpg

Māpura Studios has been running art therapy programmes especially designed for people affected by Stroke since 2010. The programme has produced positive outcomes for the majority of participants.

Research has been completed by the Centre for Brain Research of the University of Auckland. The research results support the view that the Māpura Studios Art Therapy programme contributes toward significant improvement in the psychological well-being for stroke survivors.

81% of participants demonstrated improvement in motivation, initiative and a new sense of self.  71% reported an improvement in their quality of life  - post programme.

The programme is endorsed by the Stroke Foundation with whom we have a close relationship.

re-stART - Art Therapy After Stroke: This group-centred enquiry process initiates a journey of self-reflection and in-depth examination of the experience of having stroke-affect.  Art forms are introduced as tools and ways by which participants can explore emotionally and psychologically, providing insight, healing, and resolution - assisting rehabilitation, and renewing motivation and purpose in life. The group environment provides a sense of connection and community for those who may be isolated in their experience; a place to constructively & safely share & be heard. The process is dynamic & life enhancing.

My confidence in life and living has definitely increased with this programme. To join others in the same boat and to socialise in a fun environment has been great
— Leota Doo

 In 2010, Māpura Studios was contracted by the Stroke Foundation Northern Region Inc, to develop and trial a programme in arts therapy for people with stroke affect. Māpura Studios subsequently delivered a 14-week art therapy pilot programme for a group of twelve participants.  This was followed by further programmes in 2011, 2012, & 2013.
All were highly successful with participants responding most positively to the experience and reporting significant outcomes (such as a marked increase in their enthusiasm, motivation and ability to re-engage in life).  Many participants have continued to be involved in other art programmes at Māpura Studios, and continue to greatly enjoy the sense of creative community. 

Māpura Studios continues its collaboration with the Stroke Foundation Northern Region, and is currently delivering its fifth Arts Therapy programme (September to November 2014). In addition, the University of Auckland is undertaking an initial research project alongside this Art Therapy programme titled: “Art therapy and identity: A pilot study evaluating the rehabilitative efficacy of a visual arts therapy programme for survivors of stroke.”

Māpura Studios is seeking sponsorship to extend the range of programmes it offers to people with stroke affect. 

Artwork by Craig. B

Artwork by Craig. B

Terry Smith, portrait  Inside out - Outside in

Terry Smith, portrait Inside out - Outside in


What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy utilises creative modalities and media to provide a safe, insightful way to give expression to the complex range of physical, emotional and mental experience a person has as a result of stroke. Creative processes provide an effective and in-depth means of self reflection. They inform and grow awareness, aiding healing and integration, assisting people to be more able to accept their changed circumstance. 

Art therapy alleviates stress and depression. It aids the development of language, communication and cognitive skills. Creativity, the imagination, and the expression of subjective experience, realises new possibilities and perspectives, promoting new thinking. Collectively these elements enliven and revitalise, bringing about increased motivation and renewed purpose in life. 

Description of Art Therapy Programmes for people with stroke-affect

The art therapy programmes are offered to groups of ten to twelve people with stroke affect who wish to engage in a person-centred, therapeutic group process in order to directly address the issues arising from the life-changing experience of having a stroke. Each programme runs from 10 to 14 weeks (dependent on funding).


  • to provide a safe environment and process in which to explore experience and issues related to effect of stroke

  • to develop participants capacity to reflect and grow self awareness in regard the effect of stroke and its impact upon one’s life

  • to develop communication and community with others of like experience

  • to utilise creative process in visual art making and art therapy to provide pathway for emotional and psychological healing

  • to promote rehabilitation - and to create possible new life pathways & opportunities centred in creativity


The Art Therapy Team

The Art Therapy Team is multi-disciplinary. It includes Registered Arts Therapists and qualified art tutors.

The Group Process 

The programme follows a ‘group-inquiry’ process, initiating a journey of self-reflection and examination of participants’ experience of having stroke-affect. Prevalent issues such as grief, loss of identity, loss of confidence and self-autonomy, the experience of depression, etc., are addressed.

Art forms are introduced as tools and ways by which individuals can explore and progress emotionally and psychologically, assisting in their process of rehabilitation. 

The group environment provides a sense of connection and community for those who may be isolated in their experience; and offers a place to share & be heard in constructive & safe ways. 

Through participating in the group process and sharing their experience, participants form meaningful connections with one another, learning and growing from each other, developing mutual understanding and companionship. 

The outcomes can be life enhancing and catalyse change – they are therapeutic and rehabilitative in effect, creating new pathways. 

Opportunities after Art Therapy

The art based therapeutic process has a significant impact on people’s rehabilitation. Creativity as a life enhancing modality regularly becomes part of participants’ daily life. Many discover a real interest and enjoyment in making art and continue to be involved in Māpura Studios visual arts programmes (see Leading a Creative Life and Stroke Arts Transition). Here, they experience a real sense of community with one another, develop their arts practice, and have the opportunity take part in regular Māpura Studios public exhibitions.


Māpura Studios proudly acknowledges the partnership with The Stroke Foundation of New Zealand in the development and ongoing delivery of this programme.