Our vision: to provide people with the opportunity to discover their creative potential through art therapy and to enhance their mental health and well-being

Our mission: to provide a unique model of high quality Art Therapy services to the community 

melbourne art therapy studio

The idea for the Melbourne Art Therapy Studio began one March day in 2003 when Robyn deVries (left), Celia Adams and Effie Chaniotis  embarked on their Masters in Art Therapy together at La Trobe University. Their shared dream of opening a uniquely accessible art therapy studio emerged even before they were let loose in the Art Therapy room for the first time.

And so, the idea was born, germinated, grew, and was nurtured and re-visited with regular peer supervision throughout their training together. (The wonderful Denise Lynch deserves a special mention here. She was part of the core group, but embarked on her own special adventure with her brand new triplets). So just around the time the Abbotsford Convent opened its doors to tenants, a long time “friend of the Convent” Hilary Archer approached Celia to let her know about this fantastic opportunity.


The Melbourne Art Therapy Studio originated in a small studio on the first floor of the Convent, when there were only a handful of tenants. There was no Lentil as Anything, no Convent Bakery, and (hard to imagine) no Handsome Steve’s House of Refreshment. The place was mostly eerily deserted. Since then, it has grown exponentially to become a bustling, vibrant artist community and hub for people from all over Victoria.


The Melbourne Art Therapy has grown from strength to strength since 2005, with invaluable contributions from Celia, Effie and Robyn, each offering their own set of talents & skills to the venture. Their shared vision and goals for the studio have been achieved and even surpassed. They moved into a larger, brighter studio in 2008. They have created wonderful and rewarding relationships with services and clients over the past few years, and are very fortunate to have such a diverse array of experiences on offer to an equally diverse array of client groups.




image left "Here Lies Should" Installation by Robyn deVries 2013

Abbotsford Convent main building courtyard.

a quiet place for people to come & bury their "shoulds"

Robyn deVries (AThR)


Robyn is continuing the Melbourne Art Therapy Studio dream. She regularly facilitates groups, both at the Studio and elsewhere. She has over 14 year's experience working with addictions, in schools, in palliative care, in general mental heath, aged care, with autism and many other sectors. She facilitates workshops, is on The School of Life faculty, teaches at Ikon Institute of Australia and sees many amazing people in individual sessions in the Studio.  Robyn's interests include assisting people to tap into self compassion and judgements, to play, to explore, to be curious, to push boundaries and to break the rules, but not the law.  

She now employs Arts Therapists on a sessional basis. Robyn is professional member of ANZACATA (Australia & New Zealand Art Therapy Association), and completed a diploma in Gestalt Therapy in 2006, and also runs Inspired Teams (see www.inspiredteams.com.au). She also holds a Masters in Art in Public Space.


Jackie Burden (AThR)

Jackie is a professional member of The Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapies Association (ANZACATA), a Master of Art Therapy (LaTrobe University), is completing a Master of Counselling (Swinburne University) and is a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Australian National University).  Her goal is to discover each individual’s material and subject interests and to develop creatively therapeutic interactions with reference to clients’ own goals, diagnosis, personal history, developmental stage and specific challenges such as grief, loss and trauma, and emotional states. Jackie works with older adults including those with dementia and other neurological conditions, carers experiencing significant grief, loss and anger, children and young people with autism, people with intellectual disabilities, people with mental health conditions and cancer. Dementia is a special interest – finding ways to discover and honour the person who is still within.  

Conny Weyrich (AthR)

Conny is a qualified Art Therapist with a Masters degree from The MIECAT Institute and facilitates creative expression and art making to help her clients access their curiosity and creativity for mental wellbeing and personal growth. Conny has a solid grounding in mental health and trauma-informed practice and believes strongly in combining Art Therapy with other frameworks to create bespoke approaches that fit her clients’ needs and individuals goals. To support her in this she has invested in professional development in Mindfulness, Acceptance-Commitment-Therapy and Narrative Therapy, and integrates coaching approaches learned in her earlier career in marketing and management. Conny works with adults experiencing a range of mental health challenges and given her previous Corporate career, staying mentally well in the modern workplace is an issue especially close to her heart.

Jo Kennedy - Focusing practitioner

"After a 25 year meditation practice I was deeply moved when I discovered Focusing. What I had been yearning for had been there all along; what the meditation teachers had been talking about was suddenly accessible. I was offered the  missing link.  Focusing is a profound form of deep listening, it has enriched my life, shown me how to build strength in my cancer recovery and given me access to an ongoing source of creativity and healing.

Learning to listen into this deep, more bodily knowing has given me the gift of myself." 

our team

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