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About the Centre


The Centre
for Expressive Therapy


Located in San Pareil near Parksville on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, the Centre for Expressive Therapy offers therapy for people of all ages, as well as training in Expressive Play Therapy® for healthcare professionals. Counselling and training can be offered in English or French.

The Centre for Expressive Therapy acknowledges from coast to coast the ancestral and unceded territory of all the Inuit, Metis, and First Nations peoples that call this land home. It is with gratitude that we live, work, and play on the traditional territory of the Coast Salish First Nations, in particular the Kwalikum and Snaw Naw As First Nations who share with us the land now called San Pareil.


There is nothing as powerful as the beauty of nature to soothe and heal the senses and help connect with body, soul and spirit.



Be one with

The therapy studio is surrounded by the island’s natural beauty, creating a soothing and nurturing environment that facilitates the healing process. It is designed to accommodate many ways of being and of expressing oneself, from quietly sitting in a comfortable chair and talking, to painting, making a sand play image, or whichever mode of self-expression the individual is drawn to. Each expressive therapy has its own area in the studio that can be gradually opened or closed depending on the client’s needs.

The large garden has become an extension of the playroom and is evolving to be a haven for people and animals alike. The Centre backs onto the Englishman River Estuary and is only a few minutes walk from the beach and forest of Rathtrevor Park.

The Centre for Expressive Therapy is wheelchair accessible and is a smoke-free and scent-free zone. Please do not wear any scented products in consideration for those suffering from environmental allergies.

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Marie José


Marie José Dhaese, Ph.D. was born and educated in France. She is a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC), a Registered Art Therapist (ATR and BCATR), a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor (RPT-S) and a Certified Play Therapist Supervisor (CPT-S and BCPT-S). The Centre for Expressive Therapy is a continuing education provider with the Association for Play Therapy (APT provider #95-010), Canadian Association for Play Therapy (CAPT provider #09-102)

Marie José celebrates 50 years of experience as a counsellor and psychotherapist. She is the creator of Expressive Play Therapy®, a holistic and integrative approach she has been teaching her approach internationally for 40 years. She has been a frequent speaker at art therapy, play therapy and mental health conferences throughout North America, presenting the approach and methods she has pioneered, particularly in the field of abuse, loss and trauma.

Marie José is joined by her co-therapists—her standard poodles—who assist with counselling, training and workshops when appropriate.

Questions about Expressive Play Therapy®?

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