Art as Medicine: Pam Tremblay talks about healing through creativity

July 22, 2016  

Pam Tremblay copy

Traditional Healing

CSC CHIGAMIK CHC’s Aboriginal Traditional Healers understand that sickness begins in spirit, and impacts one’s mind, emotions, and body. The healers use traditional Aboriginal approaches to bring about wellness. They provide non-judgemental and compassionate support, working with First Nation, Métis, and Inuit or Non-Aboriginal individuals on a broad range of issues such as stress, depression, abuse, identity, substance abuse, self-esteem, and relationship issues. Through culture and traditional healing methods, healers strive to help individuals achieve balance, harmony, and good health. 

One such healer is Pam Tremblay who often uses art and creativity as the focus of her healing. “For me, as a Métis healer, everything is always coming from a place of creativity. When a person asks for help, they have to be open to the creative process and want to be part of creating the healing experience,” says Pam.

Art as Medicine

Kokum Pam’s connection to art started many years ago with her own personal healing – having experienced the healing effects of exploring the arts through mixed mediums – colouring, painting, crafts, dancing, voice, movement, poetry, dream catchers, writing and through her own culture’s traditional art forms.

“It’s my belief that art is medicine. It’s not just painting on canvas, it’s about allowing yourself to be open to the experience, the process and the sense of vulnerability that unfolds. You learn to trust it and the healing that takes place in what ever form that may be,” says Kokum Pam.

Pam’s background and studies converged to develop a unique practice. She combines her Métis heritage, deep and profound learnings from First Nations and Métis Grandmothers, artistic background, and professional training to assist people as they deepen their own healing journey and self-exploration.

After years of personal experience and completing her education in healing and expressive arts, Pam started designing Art in Healing workshops, which include expressive arts with Indigenous world-view perspectives. She often implements dream catchers, feather painting, talking sticks, dot painting and more into her workshops. The workshops enable participants to be interpreters of their own stories and journeys in a creative and culturally appropriate manner.

“The great thing about these workshops is they’re not just about learning how to make art and traditional crafts. Participants are invited to pay attention to what’s going on inside them and to bring that out into their art pieces and truly make it theirs. This becomes a healing tool so that the art that we’re making becomes the medicine,” says Kokum Pam.

Healing in Art Series

In addition to Kokum Pam’s spiritual counselling and healing treatments at CSC CHIGAMIK CHC, she also offers her Healing in Art Series throughout Ontario. She has recently designed a new program specifically for individuals that are in recovery from various forms of addiction and women who have lived with trauma such as sexual, mental and physical abuse. For Kokum Pam, helping others heal through creativity is her calling.

“Every Traditional Healer is given their special gifts by the creator and many recognize that calling. For some, it is strong and they recognize it right from the start of life. For others, it could be very subtle, something that evolves and unfolds throughout the person’s developmental stages. One of the gifts I came with in this life is helping people through creativity. And, I’m so grateful to share this gift with others,” says Kokum Pam.