Saturday, November 24, 2012

Helping patients deal with the holidays

This month we've talked about the holidays, and the various ways the patients react to them. Some really get into the decorating, others get depressed, some get angry. In one of my groups, before Thanksgiving, we talked about being thankful. Of course this can be difficult for our patients who are hospitalized against their will, but they were all able to think of something they were grateful for. I also told the supervision group about the year a group of patients got upset because they weren't allowed to have lights on their Unit tree, so they threw their entire tree down a flight of stairs. As therapists, we can help by letting the patients do art and talk about their feelings, whether positive or negative.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Empathy for Patient

During a recent supervision, I asked the Art Therapists to draw a patient they felt sympathetic or empathetic towards. We often complain about patients since sex offenders are difficult to work with, so this was a change from our usual venting. This directive also helped explore transference and counter transference. The hospital frequently has staff who have inappropriate relationships with the patients, so it was also important to see how something like that can get started and discuss how to prevent that from happening.

Tie Dye Project

At work, the Art Therapists in the department bought white t-shirts with the name of the facility and "Art Therapy" on them. Then, during supervision, we all tie dyed our shirts using a kit bought from Michael's. All the shirts came out uniquely, as everyone used different colors and methods. It was a fun activity, and it helps us feel united and a part of a group which is good for morale. Staff and patients have made positive comments about the shirts and our creativity.

Coloring Mandalas for Meditation

In the Coloring Mandalas for Meditation group, during the first session, I had all the group members make a list of positive feelings. I then had one member choose a feeling from all the lists, and then each member chose a Mandala to color based on that feeling. It was interesting because one sex offender had a hard time even identifying any positive feelings. One felt that his list of 7 feelings was complete even though I said they could continue adding to their list. Eventually, I hope the group members will be able to talk more about their feelings and how they can experience more positive feelings in their lives. In the meantime, maybe just meditating on a positive feeling for the duration of the group will be helpful.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Good Lives Model

The facility where I work is transitioning to start using the Good Lives Model in our sex offender treatment. In a few weeks, I'm bringing back a group we used to run called Coloring Mandalas for Meditation. This will fit with one of the goods referred to as Peace of Mind or Inner Peace. Coloring mandalas can be focusing and calming. In addition, creating mandalas can help relieve stress and reduce pain. Hopefully, the group members can use this activity as a healthy coping skill, and improve the quality of their lives.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Scribble Drawing

During a recent Supervision, I had everyone do a scribble drawing and then find an image in the scribble. This is a good exercise to bring up unconscious feelings. One Art Therapist saw a particularly trying patient. Another saw a chaos spewing dragon, and another saw herself being overwhelmed by chaos. It was a good opportunity to vent about the week and get support from peers.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Two Hands Directive

During supervision, one Art Therapist had a good directive. She had everyone trace their hands, and then on one hand write all the negative things that happened during the week. On the other hand, everyone wrote positive things that happened during the week. This was a good way to have some balance, and vent as well as appreciate some good things. This is also a good directive to use in groups.

Monday, February 13, 2012


For Valentine's Day, I made my husband a coupon book using art journaling techniques. I used an old note pad, and created various images on each page using collage images, glitter, and other craft items. It was a nice way to be creative and make a meaningful Valentine.