Growing up in Ontario,
Laila developed a natural love of the outdoors while camping,
canoeing and hiking with her friends and family. Her leadership interests
took root as a Katimavik group leader and from there she travelled around
the world on a many outdoor adventures.
Reflecting upon these journeys, Laila says the most important
thing she has learned is that there are rich rewards for choosing to be
awake in this life. In this context, to be awake is to consciously open
up to and develop self and environmental awareness through the senses,
intuition and a connection to a greater whole.
This learning process
has become Laila's way of life and is the very essence of Aziza.
Also a dedicated artist, Laila paints original artwork
and has had a series of successful shows in Toronto. Her images are deeply
personal and express her joy for the beauty inherent in the simple pleasures
A passionate belief
in the healing power of art combined with her enthusiasm for travel and
intimate experience of the Gestalt therapy process has led Laila to launch
Aziza Healing Adventures.
Laila Ghattas has a private practice in Toronto where
she conducts group art and therapy workshops for individuals and corporations,
as well as individual therapy and Reiki treatments.
She leads international
personal growth retreats in spectacular natural settings. She
speaks and publishes on creativity, self-acceptance and compassion, Impeccable
Leadership and the healing benefits of retreats.
You can read Laila's
personal accounts on the influences and events that lead to the
creation of Aziza Healing Adventures by clicking
here to read an interview with Laila about Aziza Healing Adventures,
created by WomenCanDoAnything.com
Employed by Love,
the journey to Aziza Healing Adventures, one of 40 stories
in Conscious Women, Conscious Careers available at amazon.com. If you
would like to purchase a signed copy by Laila Ghattas, please email.
& PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
Laila Ghattas is an
artist, Gestalt therapist, group facilitator, Reiki practitioner
and the founder of Aziza Healing Adventures and Deluscious Wearables.
She studied at York
University for her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts, concurrently
graduating with a Bachelor of Education, Special Education Part One and
Ontario Teachers Certificate.
A graduate of the Gestalt
Institute of Toronto, Laila holds an undergraduate certificate
in Gestalt Theory and Methodology and a postgraduate certificate in Gestalt
She completed her Expressive
Arts Certificate at Sir Sanford Fleming College.
Laila has her Reiki
1st & 2nd degree in the Usui System of Natural Healing taken
with Reiki Master Anita Levin in Toronto.
Gestalt means whole
in German. Gestalt therapy came about in the 1950's as part of
the Human Potential Movement. It is an accessible, practical psychotherapy
that encourages self-acceptance and self-support. At its core is an interest
in how, not why, we choose to limit our awareness. It demonstrates ways
to work towards expanding our observations of the world and ourselves,
and acknowledges the individual as connected and responsive to the immediate
By exploring the emotions, feelings and perceptions of
the present moment, Gestalt therapy heightens awareness to behaviour patterns.
This is the first step in therapeutic change. Those who practice Gestalt
therapy develop an awareness of the excitement and immediacy of being
fully present in the moment, which fosters an ability to respond authentically.
This leads them to be open to more appropriate choices previously unconsidered,
rather than continuing with habitual behaviour. The result is an evolution
towards living a more meaningful and authentic life.
For an excellent, more detailed introduction to Gestalt therapy please
Janie Ryne was the
admired and long-hailed expert in the field of combining art
and Gestalt therapy. Her own words, sincere and passionate, offer the
most eloquent support for including art exercises in the personal growth
We have alternatives....we can begin the courageous
search for finding in ourselves what is genuine.
We can learn to give up falseness and grow into realness.... For me....
this experience of unlearning and regrowth ...is a process...(and) the
most effective (way) is to use art materials to make images that allow
me to rediscover not only some of the simple, naive wisdom of the child
I was but provide me with the visual imagery that evokes associations,
resonances and insights that are available to me if I just take the time
to become aware of them. I think of my expressive drawings as sources
of learning....They show how I , as a mature person, can bring all of
these realizations together into the pattern of my own gestalt, whose
every part is related to the total configuration that is me- past present
and future- and that I and my environment are ever-changing and ever-
interacting. p. 4,5. ....your drawing does have a lot to do
with you- with the way you see and feel and think and with the way you
perceive. When you do an art activity, you are experiencing yourself....
Taken from Janie Ryne The Gestalt Art Experience ,1973, revised
1996, Magnolia Street Publishers, Chicago Illinois. ISBN 0-9613309-6-1
It's the poet Ted Hughes
who was once asked in an interview if poetry is something that gives hope.
He replied: "For myself, I formulated the notion that art is in general
a psychological component of the immune system. As the body tries to heal
itself from any stress or shock or infection, the corresponding harmonic,
in consciousness, is art. So our constant struggle to pull ourselves together
and to deal with difficulty and injury and illness and with threats and
fears, manifests itself - at a psychological level - as art. We may not
think at the moment that it's the most valuable thing we do, but of any
past civilization it's the one thing we want to preserve, because it still
operates for us as medicine."
IN A NAME?
Aziza: (Ah zee zah)
Is Arabic in origin meaning cherished one, beloved, invincible. It is
also the name of a beneficent African Faerie race offering practical and
spiritual knowledge to people. It is a word that is in perfect balance,
Heal: to make whole, to restore to health, to restore
to original purity or integrity, to cause an undesirable condition to
Adventure: an exciting or remarkable experience involving
Circle is the symbol
for wholeness, completion.
Water is the archetypal realm of emotions and feelings.
Spiral is an ancient symbol for spiritual journey toward
The center of a spiral is the center of the self
as it goes through the forward movement of time yet never loses the essential
spirit of its origin. We are who we are and experience deepens and elevates
the soul simultaneously. 1
If we are intimately connected to the healing and
becoming powers of the spiral then why is our world so chaotic? Doczi,
Carl Jung, and Joseph Campbell all agree in principle that the ancient
masters, unlike our modern selves, were in touch with the actual life
essence as a reflection of biological makeup, as their prolific use of
the spiral symbol demonstrates (Doczi, p. 28). Because our technological
age has pulled us in an outward rather than inward direction, we've lost
the generative relatedness between ourselves and everything around us
(Doczi, p. 28). That is to say that we have forgotten the sense of awe
in our association with the natural world in its ability to provide an
example of the naturally assured process of death and rebirth. We have
also lost our enthusiasm because we no longer share in the divine energy
realized from recognizing the God within. Our emergence into organized
religion and politics has acted to suppress our individual stirrings toward
mystery and transcendence as many choose to live unaware of the connected,
synchronatic fabric of the universe. So how can one reach within to grasp
these mind-boggling concepts? We come back again to Jungian psychology
and the appreciation and expression of the archetype. 2
1., 2. Paula Vaughan 1998-2001, reprinted with permission. Research Paper
/World Mythologies and Cultural Anthropology. www.nemorensis.net/anthromyth