Kim O’Leary was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario and moved west to Edmonton, Alberta to pursue a diploma in Child and Youth Care Counselling. In her work with youth, she was introduced to the use of art therapy and psychodrama in working with groups. Her interest in working directly with people was strengthened through her completion of a Bachelor degree in Social Work at Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario and she has been registered to practice through the Alberta College and subsequently the BC College of Social Workers since 1995. Her Social Work training provided her with a foundation of understanding and skill in the areas of structural and anti-oppressive practice as she gained a diversity of experience working in non-profit, institutional care, psychiatric care and private practice.
Inspired to explore the intersection of healing, human creativity and spirituality, in 2009 Kim completed a Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality degree with a specialization in Art Therapy through St. Stephen’s College in Edmonton, Alberta. At the same time, she completed an Expressive Arts Apprenticeship through the World Arts Organization and pursued additional training whereby she achieved certification as a Hakomi Therapist. Since coming to Vancouver Island in 2011, she completed training to support her designation as a Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner. Balancing between teaching and her private practice, she continues to pursue post-graduate studies in the area of developmental trauma and build her capacity to support individuals and community in the use of sensory motor art therapy techniques.