Sunday, November 16, 2014

Music and Art Therapy Directive

A Music Therapist colleague and I facilitated a Music and Art Therapy session to try to foster more interdisciplinary groups within our Rehab Department. She sang and played the song "Demons" by Imagine Dragons on her guitar. We then asked the patients to create an image relating to the song or what they got from it. Some images depicted darkness and difficulties while some exhibited support and hope. One patient drew his inner child behind a brick wall, and spoke about protecting his inner child. The patients had positive comments about the combination of the modalities, and later the staff discussed possible groups that could be done using Music and Art Therapy. We discussed empathy groups, lyric analysis, and healing as potential group themes. It seemed like a helpful way to encourage collaboration and a better understanding of each other's disciplines. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Exploring Entitlement through Art Therapy

Next quarter we are starting a new Art Therapy group to address the high risk factor for sex offenders of excessive entitlement.  We ran a pilot session with a group of patients and asked them to draw a time they felt excessively entitled and how they handled it. They were all able to think of an incident right away, and a few of them were able to relate feeling entitled to committing their crimes. Other examples included one patient who wanted to cash a check at a bank, but was told he had to wait until it cleared, so he got angry and yelled at the staff until he was asked to leave, and another patient who plays sports and feels entitled to take his anger out on other players. We asked the patients for feedback on how to make the group more appealing to patients since it is a challenging topic and many patients may be in denial of being entitled. It was helpful to have actual patient input, and to see how well the patients could do with the topic. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Supervision Directive--Getting Feedback from Peers

An Art Therapist who went to the recent AATA conference shared a directive from a workshop he went to. He asked us to write down something at work that was bothering us. Then he asked us to create an image about our difficulty. He gave everyone a pad of post-it notes, and asked everyone to look at each other's art and writing, and to write a note to that person with words of advice or support or encouragement. After, everyone could read what the others wrote, and maybe gain a new perspective, or find something that resonated for him or her, or just feel supported.  It was a helpful exercise, and one that could also be used with patients.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Art Therapy sessions during supervision

I like to observe my supervisees facilitating an Art Therapy group which helps me when writing up their ATR paperwork, but due to my schedule, it's been hard to do that. So, on occasion, we have been able to run special Art Therapy sessions during our supervision time with volunteer patients. This has worked out well as we can all learn from each other. We have a diverse group of 19 Art Therapists with different backgrounds, and therapy styles.  It is also beneficial in that we can later discuss the patient art work and their process and all be familiar with them. This is also a good way to introduce Art Therapy to a patient who has never done it before.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Self Esteem through Art Therapy

We are starting up a Self Esteem through Art Therapy group for the sex offenders and the mentally ill inmates, so during supervision, we all brainstormed directives. I asked everyone to think about the Good Lives Model and also high risk factors for sex offenders, so we could reference those when we write up the lesson plan. Everyone had great ideas from a collage of what the patient is good at to drawing himself as a superhero to puppet making and role play. The great thing about making the lesson plan a collaborative effort is that we came up with a variety of creative and effective directives for a 12 week quarter.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Art Therapy with Forensic Population

Due to a recent loss of a tool during a studio group, we've had to overhaul our procedures for handling tools in the Art Center. When I first started at the hospital when it opened, I had no experience with forensics, and did the best I could in setting up policy and procedure. Through an on going learning process, I've discovered that a good part of forensic Art Therapy includes safety and security. Every item has its place. Everything is labeled. Items must be specifically checked out to patients. Every tool has to be accounted for. Every sharp and hazmat has to be disposed of properly. Back stock inventory must be accurate. We are constantly organizing and counting items. This is obviously time consuming and frustrating, and still subject to human error.  It takes adjustment and flexibility on the part of staff and patients. However, when the environment is safe, then that creates a space where therapy and healing can take place.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Empathy through Art Therapy with Mentally Ill Inmates

I recently started an Empathy through Art Therapy group with our small population of mentally ill inmates at the hospital. In our first group, I asked them to create a picture of what empathy means. Some didn't really know, so first we discussed what empathy is, and gave some examples. We also talked about the difference between empathy and sympathy. Some still had some difficulty with the concept, but they were all willing to give the directive a try. One man drew several faces of a person trying to have empathy for another person.  Other patients drew about their own experience of feeling empathy for someone else. I hope this group can help these patients understand better what empathy is, and help them practice feeling empathy for others, in an effort to help them to not re-offend.