Born and raised in the mountains of West Central Maine, AWA Affiliate Suzanne Rancourt’s story is unique. Her rural, woodland upbringing offered her the experiential framework that is now the paradigm from which she draws endless resources. Whether working with artists/recipients, survivors of Traumatic Brain Injury, other life altering traumatic events, or people living with disability challenges, she has further developed her experiences with formal education, military service, and 30+ years of professional practice.
Nature has always provided solace and inspiration for Ms. Rancourt as her life, like so many people, has been seasoned with traumatic events, sudden change, career challenges and advocacy. Having been challenged with her own learning disabilities, head injuries, and domestic violence, Ms. Rancourt is a survivor. Her experiences bring patience, strength, courage and realism to her work as a writing workshop leader and her multi-modal Expressive Arts Therapeutic practices.
Ms. Rancourt draws upon her Native American heritage and cultural perspectives as an Artist, counselor and human being. Being “Authentic” is imperative in her approach to life, counseling, and the art making process. Ms. Rancourt will tell you honestly, “The Journey has not been easy, however, never boring.”
Speaking about a workshop she was offering, funded in part by Poets & Writers and New York State Council on the Arts and provided for free, Ms. Rancourt was quoted in a Press Republican article that discussed her approach to the AWA Method. Of her work at the time, she said:
“I’ve been attempting to do more rural locations, not just for the writing or working artists perspective, but because of my involvement with veterans, and how expressive arts is finally being acknowledged as an effective method working with people with PTSD, as well as a variety of disabilities such as traumatic brain injury and addiction recovery.”
She has educated others about these dynamics of her work, leading a session at the AWA Conference for fellow workshop leaders in which she provided insight and guidance on best uses of the AWA Method for writing with veterans.
Ms. Rancourt is an accomplished writer whose poetry collection Billboard in the Clouds was the winner of the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas first Book Award. You can read a poem from that collection, “Whose Mouth Do I Speak With,” on Poem-A-Day where it was featured as part of a project of the Academy of American Poets.
For more information about Suzanne Rancourt and her work, please visit her website http://www.expressive-arts.com.