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Community Story: The Canadian International Institute of Art Therapy

March 03, 2023

The Canadian International Institute of Art Therapy (CiiAT) is a not-for-profit organization offering engaging, comprehensive, and in-depth art therapy education, as well as mental health programs to the local community in Victoria, BC, Canada on Vancouver Island.

We sat down with Melissa Yue, CiiAT’s administrative manager, Hannah Whittall, CIIAT’s clinical placement and supervision coordinator, and Maddy Topnik, CiiAT’s clinical administrative assistant, to learn all about why they chose Jane to help run their virtual art therapy clinic.

Who is your art psychotherapy program for?

There’s a common underlying theme that guides people to our Art Psychotherapy Diploma program: the desire to help people. People who are searching for a way to blend their love of creativity, passion for helping others, and interest in applicable neuropsychology. They often become art therapists or incorporate the therapeutic arts into their other careers. It’s a match made from the he(art)!

Tell us a little bit about the virtual art therapy clinic.

We set up our virtual art therapy clinic on Jane as a practicum site option for students who wanted an alternative to in-person placements in their local communities. Hannah is actually a graduate of the art therapy school. The pandemic forced us to speed up the implementation, but it has worked out really well.

Why did you decide to use Jane at the virtual art therapy clinic?

We chose Jane because it teaches students so much about charting and so much about how to run your own clinic. We’re huge fans. In our classes, we definitely try to draw from practical examples of here’s how charting can work in the future. Charting can be simple, you don’t just have to keep a physical filing cabinet anymore. You have to keep it for seven-plus years, but you can do it digitally and much more easily now. Jane has become a nice adjacent teaching tool for us because it sets a standard.

When I graduated and opened my private clinic, I was at the junction where I needed to decide between paying for a platform or keeping things handwritten. I have since transitioned to having my own Jane clinic. And it’s 10,000 times easier. Plus, I have that security in my mind of knowing I’m being PIPEDA and HIPAA compliant. - Hannah Whittall

We also love that Jane is a local service based not too far away from our head office, and we were hopeful that this meant we would get excellent customer service –and we have! Jane has always provided us with an exceptional experience whenever we needed help.

For folks looking into CiiAT, what other programs do you offer?

We have our art psychotherapy diploma, where graduates become professional art therapists in Canada. We also have our TAPPS Program, which is our Therapeutic Arts Practitioner Program. This program is for those who are already nurses, teachers, or clinicians or who are simply interested in adding some personal therapeutic growth. This is one of our professional development programs where professionals can learn and offer therapeutic art for stress management and wellness to their clients.

Outside of the virtual Art Therapy clinic, what else does the CiiAT do?

We have in-person mental health initiatives, like our Art Wellness Studios and Clinic Program (AWSC). AWSC is a clinician-referred subcontracted program with Island Health, our local health authority. It provides supportive group art therapy to adults who have serious and persistent mental health and substance use issues in the South Vancouver Island region. The AWSC operates as a student practicum site much like the virtual art therapy clinic.

What has been your biggest success to date and what has been your biggest challenge?

We are very proud of the number of clients we have been able to provide care for through our online clinic and the many students who have facilitated those sessions.

I have been working for CiiAT for over three years now, and every moment has been full of creative wonder. - Melissa Yue

One of the challenges we have overcome is opening a virtual clinic at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic. We hurried to provide the care needed and placement sites for our students in a suddenly virtual world. Although we had to rush to accommodate these new changes, we managed to create a wonderful, long-lasting clinic experience with Jane.

How do you find Jane to be the most helpful to you?

Jane helps us run our sessions efficiently, keeps important client information confidential, and is beneficial to our organization as a whole.

Our favourite Jane feature is the reports section. Reports help us acquire important data in order to keep everything running smoothly. We love being able to see all sorts of different data points in easy-to-navigate reports.

We do a lot of reflection being a school for therapists. The reports show us how far we’ve come and where we are now. The numbers are exponential in their growth and it’s so motivating to be able to see them easily. It’s huge for the team.

What’s your favourite Jane tip?

One of my favourite Jane tips to share is the ability to use keyboard shortcuts! It’s very helpful especially when you need to do something quickly. Using this feature helps speed up daily workflows.

What would you tell someone considering Jane for their practice?

Absolutely go for it, use Jane! Jane is very user-friendly, not to mention how easy it is to learn to operate! And the Jane Team is always there when support is needed. Jane truly has the best support team around.

Jane has been super helpful. It’s extremely user-friendly, easy to navigate, and easy to learn. Plus, the Jane Payments system makes my life 10 times easier. - Maddy Topnik

My biggest shout-out has to be the support team. I have never had more secure care in a support team anywhere else in my entire life. It’s always very sincere. Anybody I’ve emailed or been on the phone with has been the sweetest person. - Hannah Whittal

What is the best advice you ever received as a practitioner or business owner?

Learning to achieve a healthy life-work balance. Jane’s scheduling system has helped with this immensely as it is very clear and easy to use and you are able to link it to other calendar apps. Take the time to really plan out your schedule and make sure you are taking the space you need for yourself outside of work.

What is CiiAT’s superpower?

Our superpower over here at CiiAT is always offering 100% care and understanding. We want our clients and students to know that we are here to help. We want to be a part of the movement and awareness of mental health and to make sure there are no barriers in the way of receiving adequate mental health care.

We don’t want financial barriers to stop people from reaching out. We offer therapy by donation, which works great for us. Our students are learning to be therapists and our clients get therapy for a minimal fee.

Anything else you would like to share with the Jane community?

We love all of the extra content from Jane. The summer school sessions and resources available on the Jane Guide to help learn the platform are very clear and highly recommended by us!

🗣 Jane Team shoutout: Check out our video resources to help you start, run and grow your practice, and get some helpful Jane tips along the way here.


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Learn more about CiiAT on their Youtube Channel

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