Sharing in the Healing Journey

YWCA Toronto is delivering and testing a program to address domestic violence by increasing opportunities for participants to process their experiences through expressive arts. 

Implemented in the Scarborough neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario, this project empowers caregivers and their children to better manage their emotions, strengthen their resilience, and develop new ways to cope with the impact of their exposure to domestic violence while reducing the risk of re-traumatization. Through their interaction with the arts, participants are able to safely explore their experiences by fostering self-awareness, communication, and connection to skills, abilities and values that support healing and wellness. 

Community of Practice member:

Melissa Foong 


Melissa is the Expressive Arts Coordinator for a group program that helps children and their caregivers heal from the exposure of family violence. She holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Art Psychotherapy and is passionate about utilizing the arts as a healing modality in the mental health field. She embraces a co-creative approach to counselling and her professional experience working with diverse populations greatly informs her desire to make support services more accessible to all.

Maria Palma  

Maria Palma is the coordinator a group program for children and their caregivers who are survivors of domestic violence. Through an internship in an expressive arts group for adult women and gender diverse trauma survivors, Maria was witness to the possibilities of working through an expressive arts model to support both children and their parents in healing from domestic violence. This is the inspiration behind the Sharing in the Healing Journey project. With over 25 years in working with women and children, Maria brings to the program knowledge around parenting, child development, supporting family connections and strengths-based counselling support.