Saturday, January 31, 2009

Book Review--Challenging Experiences

I like the book "Challenging Experiences" by John Bergman and Saul Hewish. I once ran a Drama Therapy group to promote empathy with the sex offenders at the hospital. I used many exercises in this book which provides drama therapy ideas to help treat offenders. One exercise that was popular was to have the group break into pairs. The first person would start a conversation with the word "Fortunately" and the second person would counter with a statement that started with the word "Unfortunately." ("Fortunately, I have the day off." "Unfortunately, you have to clean your house.") This exchange could go on for a few minutes and the pair could switch roles. After, each person could talk about what the experience was like to be positive, negative, come up with a comment spontaneously, etc. The book is broken down into warm up, low intensity, and high intensity exercises, and how to process the experience. There were many different exercises provided that included visual, verbal, and kinaesthetic techniques. The patients in the group enjoyed the exercises and were able to learn about themselves, their coping skills, and their behaviors through this group.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mail Art

One of the Art Therapists in my supervision group started a Mail Art group at the hospital. The patients can design and create their own greeting cards, post cards, and envelopes. It can be a great way for them to keep in touch with family and friends, as well as be creative and express themselves. There are many blogs about mail art and you can even submit your mail art to one of the many mail art exhibits out there! The above photo is a postcard made by a friend of mine who is an illustrator.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Act of Kindness Directive

In a Self-Esteem through Art Therapy group, I asked all the group members to do a random act of kindness for another patient sometime during the week. They would then come to the next group session and create an image about that experience. Some of the things that the patients did ranged from saying "Good Morning" to a peer he didn't like, to giving an old set of headphones to a peer who had an old damaged pair, to giving a peer some extra greeting cards because he knew that peer liked to send cards to his family. Doing something nice for someone else helped the patient feel good about himself and also helped him practice pro-social behavior.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Altered Books

Two Art Therapists in my supervision group have started an Altered Books group. They bought a various hard cover books at the local thrift shop (picture books, travel books, novels, etc.). The patients get to choose a book that appeals to them and then can alter the book to convey their story. The group facilitators offer directives to encourage the patients to think about themselves and express their feelings. A multitude of collage materials are offered as well as paint and drawing materials. Many issues have come up through this process which have been very revealing. This is an innovative and fresh way of providing Art Therapy for a variety of populations.