Art activities, therapy free for fire victims

Cal Lutheran helps community to process experiences

Participants will create at stations dedicated to drawing, painting, mixed media or group artwork.

Photo: Shutterstock

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Jan. 6, 2020) California Lutheran University is offering free art workshops, counseling and presentations designed to help those who have moved past the immediate crisis of wildfires to a stage where they can process the experience and begin healing.   

With full funding from an American Red Cross grant, Cal Lutheran’s Community Counseling Services is partnering with the nonprofit Art Trek to present Wildfire Recovery Community Healing Workshops from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10, and Friday, Feb. 28, in Thousand Oaks. 

The workshops will offer children and adults the opportunity to explore their journeys since the wildfires through art. Participants will create at stations dedicated to drawing, painting, mixed media or group artwork, and then discuss the experience of connecting art to their wildfire stories and journeys of healing.

“Once people have been able to reestablish a daily routine and no longer feel in crisis, the ability to process disaster-related experience and any trauma becomes possible,” said Adam Neal, the associate therapist with Community Counseling Services who will lead the workshops. “Art promotes deeper awareness of strengths and resiliency and an enhanced ability to express the complexity of our experience, helping us more closely connect with loved ones and others in the community.” 

Cal Lutheran is also continuing to provide free wildfire-related counseling and presentations through grants from the Red Cross and California Community Foundation. Community Counseling Services in May began offering presentations on mindfulness, trauma and mental health first aid to schools, social service agencies and other organizations preparing for and recovering from wildfires and will continue through December 2021. 

Community Counseling Services offers affordable therapy in English and Spanish. Cal Lutheran graduate students provide counseling under close supervision by licensed psychologists, social workers and marriage and family therapists.

Register for the Jan. 10 workshop at Register for the Feb. 28 workshop at

For more information on the workshops or presentations, contact Neal at or 805-493-3055, ext. 1038. To schedule a phone consultation to begin the therapy process, contact the Westlake Village Center at 805-493-3390 or the Oxnard Center at 805-493-3059.