Sunday, October 24, 2010

September and October Art Therapy Tasks

Calming Your Nerves
While playing meditative music have each member of the group create a water color image. Once finished, everyone cuts their image into strips. Rearrange the strips of paper to create an entirely new image. Strips can be laid side by side or woven together.

Walking Through the Valley
Have the group create an image of a valley with a mountain top on either side of the valley. Discuss what one low point in life was and have the group write or draw an image within the valley. Next, have each member come up with two high points in life. Discuss which was more difficult to come up with- the low points or the high points. Often we will find that low points are unfortunately more easily remembered. Also, discuss if it were possible to build a bridge over the low point would you do that in order to never have experienced that challenge? OR was there something to be learned from by going through that tough event?

Pacific Art
Show examples to the group of Pacific Native American art including totem pole animals. Notice the tendency toward symmetrical animal shapes. Next, pass out 11 x 14" paper to each member and have the group fold the paper in half (hamburger ways). Squeeze black paint on one half of the paper. Fold the paper again and smooth. Open the paper to reveal the symmetrical monoprint that has been created. Have group members turn the paper in all directions in order to find recognizable imagery. Once the paint has dried use markers in order to bring out the discovered imagery.

Four Seasons Mandala
Begin the group with a discussion of the four seasons. Talk about how one recognizes the new season and what activities can be done during each season. Hand each member a piece of paper that has a large circle drawn in the center of the page. Encourage the group to create an image of the four seasons-participants may create four equal sections on the circle, or may draw images from each four season all together. Task helps members reminisce about the past as well as orient in reality.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

August Art Therapy Techniques

I cannot believe August is already a full week behind us! These are the tasks that I did in the wonderfully warm month of August.

Relaxation Task
Materials- Large table size piece of paper the entire group can reach/ use and markers.
Description- Begin by asked the group to pick a favorite color of marker. Next, have everyone in the group make big circles or shapes using their whole arm/ body and then instruct the group to make tiny scribbles using just the fingers and wrists to move the marker. Switch back and forth enough times to thoroughly loosen up the body and mind. Once the paper is full of scribble and color have the group put down their markers and listen to a guided meditation. Have the group relax their muscles one by one, and eventually lead the group to envision themselves as a tree rooted to the ground. Upon finishing the guided meditation, ask the group to look at the scribble in front of them. Encourage each member to recreate their self- tree within the scribble. Once everyone has finished drawing their tree, discuss each persons personal tree- how old is it, where is it located, is it alone or with other trees? Finally talk about the possibility of the tree as a personal metaphor.

Anchor Art
Materials- Pre-cut anchor shapes, markers, hole punch, ribbon or yarn.
Description- Ask the question of what an anchor does. Next, find out if the group can relate to the idea of an anchor- for instance what anchors you? And where do you get your strength from? Have each member draw or write their answers within the pre-cut anchor shape. Have the group share, and discuss each members responses. Talk about new places members may find strength from or how to strengthen weak anchors.

Experience Nature Prints
Materials- Leaves, pine cones, potatoes, apples, heavy paper, acrylic paints
Description- Cut apples and potatoes into slices to use as stamps, lay out out leaves, sticks, and pine cones in the center of the table. Ask the group participants to use the materials to create an image or just play!

Monday, July 19, 2010

July Art Therapy Techniques

This month the theme is Washington D.C. and just American patriotism in general.

Believe in Yourself
This task is focused more on the discussion than the art. The main question for your group is what is something they never thought they could do, but eventually conquered. Some things include fearing public speaking but getting out and being in a play, or fearing yet eventually finishing higher education. Have the group create an image representing their conquest or try drawing the emotions felt from being fearful of the event to the joyful feelings once having completed the event.
There are many poems relating to this topic so it may be creatively beneficial to read a poem during the art making process.

Patriotic Moments
For this technique I used a spin art machine because it creates print that look like fireworks and one large piece of water color paper. Have each member of the group created one or two pieces of spin art. As each piece of spin art is completed turn them ink side down on the large piece of paper to create a print. Once all of the prints have been made you have just created your own group firework display. This can begin the discussion of patriotic memories. Where there any special firework displays, parades or family picnics that the group members can recall?

Proud to be an American
This task was done in November as part of Veterans Day
Materials: One piece of 18" x 24" construction paper, one blue square 5" x 5" or so, 6 strips of 24" white paper, 7 strips of 24" red paper, white glitter, markers, glue sticks.
Description: Each individual in the group gets at least one strip of paper. On the paper have the group write down what it means to them to be an American. Discuss the answers that come up. Collect the strips of paper and paste onto the flag. Complete by pasting the blue square in the upper left corner and adding glitter to represent the stars in the flag.

June Art Therapy Techniques

The month of June at the work place was about the Carolinas. The focus was on water, water colors, nature, and southern hospitality.

Tides of Life
For this project I used a tub of water, sidewalk chalk, a butter knife, and water color paper.
Each group member chose 2 or 3 colors of chalk. By using the butter knife participants can scrape chalk dust into the water. Once a layer of chalk dust is floating on the water, place a piece of watercolor paper on the surface of the water. Carefully lift the paper up off the water to reveal a swirling/ marbleized pattern.
Once each group member has created a print begin a discussion about the properties of water and how they might relate to life. Crashing waves or calm serene water, each may describe a period of time in our lives. Have each member Look at their print and discuss what emotions are brought to the surface. Are they reminiscent to current experiences? Or does the image represent a different time in life.

Box of Values
Materials for this project included a small to medium sized box with a lid, watered down glue or modge podge, tissue paper, and cut out words of typical values.
The project can be broken into two sessions- the first session focused on decorating the outside of the box and the second session focused on the inside.
For the outside of the box use the tissue paper and glue to create a collage of color. This decoration can be made to look specifically visually pretty or can have a focused intention of representing the outer self.
Once dry (or in the second session) discuss the topic of values. What values does the group as a whole hold and what are some values that each member treasures. Have each participant cut out words that represent their personal values to glue on the inside of their boxes. Finally, discuss what objects and treasures they may keep in their boxes that they hold as dear as their values.

Filter Flowers
This project is simple and uses large coffee filters, water colors, green pipe cleaners and glue (hot glue for speediness, but it can leave a mark on the filter)
Have each group member paint their coffee filter using the water colors. It is recommended to keep the water colors saturated with pigment as the color tends to fade when the filter dries. Once dry, attach the pipe cleaner to the back of the filter flower and voila!

What art therapy tasks have you been utilizing?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Big News!

Hello fellow art therapists and art therapist supporters! I have big news!

I just recently found my blog listed in the Top 50 Blogs About Medical Art Therapy
It is actually quite exciting to be listed among some other really fantastic blogs, so go to the link and check out the whole list!

In regards to this blog, I will be updating June and July shortly.... please stay tuned.

As always, feel free to comment with your own art therapy techniques and adventures to share.

Monday, May 31, 2010

May Art Therapy Tasks

Hello all! It is the end of May and this is a recap of what I have been up to as the art therapist at an assisted living.

We started out the month by discussing Our Supports. What people supported you throughout life, and who might you have supported? I pre-cut tree trunks, green leaves, and roots. Then the group was asked to paste a trunk onto a colored piece of paper and write their name on the tree trunk. Next, each member was given several paper roots and asked to write the names of those who have supported them- maybe family, friends, religious supports, etc. and paste below the tree trunk. Finally, each person is given several green leaves. On these leaves they are asked the write the names of the people who they have supported throughout their lives- financially, emotionally, etc. and paste them onto the tree. Finally discuss how it impacted each members lives to be supported and to support others and all of the different kinds of supports available.

The following week we discussed Vacations to Remember. The group discussed all of the places they have visited and shared memorable stories. Next, each member chose one place that was the most special to create a brochure about. The project began by choosing a piece of colored paper to tri-fold. Then the group was offered magazines to search for imagery and markers to draw with if they preferred. In my group some people chose Florida, California, and Alaska, images included seals and icebergs in Alaska, sunsets and palm trees in CA, and beaches in FL. Once the pamphlets were created, the group went around the circle to share what it was about each vacation spot that made it so special and why other people would want to visit.

That is all for the month of May. See you next month with an update on art therapy tasks for June!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April Art Tasks

Hello all!

April's theme is the Wild Wild West!

The first task this month was "You are what you think you are". This task had more to do with the company's suggestions than the actual theme but we still had fun. For this task I had the group decorate a mask. For discussion we talked about all of the things that each member of the group would do if no one knew who they were. Some responses were to rob a bank, kick someone, or do stand up comedy. After everyone talked about what they would do, we then discussed how that desire and that person resides in each of us.. even if we do not let it out because it is not socially acceptable.... you are who you think your are even from behind your mask.

The second task this month was focused on the wildest thing group members have ever done. Keep in mind I work with geriatrics so the answers were pretty tame and rather humorous to reminisce about. First I had the group members write down on their paper the wildest and craziest thing that they had ever done in their life time. Next I had them flip over their paper and draw a picture representing this wild event. Once everyone was finished, I collected all of the stories/ images and mixed them up. Then I asked that who ever the wild story belonged to to keep quiet so that the group can GUESS who's wild story it was! I read allowed one story and have the group try to figure out who it belonged to. Again this brought up lots of laughs and camaraderie amongst the members as they discussed their wild behavior and compares stories.

What has everyone else been up to this week?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Apologies

Hello everyone,

I apologize for my lack of updating... This final hurrah of graduate school has really been taking up my time lately. Thesis defense day is the beginning of April so once that is completed things should simmer down a little and I will be able to get back on track with posting art therapy tasks.

Some tasks that I have been doing lately include "My Shining Moment" where we did group mural and everyone wrote on shiny metallic stars the proudest moments during their lives, and "Making my Mark" with the Alzheimer's residents will be using air dry clay to make hand prints which we will be able to decorate and then place into the garden.

I am excited for projects coming up in April and I look forward to hearing from you readers what art therapy tasks you have been up to. Come on all! Lets share our ideas to help spread the inspiration!

P.S. I have been reading the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.. which I recommend.. and if you yourself have read it, you will understand the relief I feel by being able to check this task of FINALLY updating my blog off of my list =)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

February Art Therapy Techniques

Welcome to all of my new followers! This month the theme at my work place is "Exploring the Bayou"; so think Mardi Gras, jazz music, voodoo, beignets and pralines! As an art therapist in this venue I try to tie my sessions in with the facilities theme; of course sometimes I stray and go with what is needed for the residents at the time. This following post will be all of my February art therapy tasks, follow me as I update new techniques throughout the month. As always, feel free to add your own comments, ideas, constructive criticism, and art therapy tasks.

Jazzy Art Project
Population: Geriatrics, adults, children
Media: Jazz tape or CD, tape or CD player, 11" x 14" or larger paper, acrylic paints of various colors, large paint brushes or foam brushes, and plates or pallets for the paint.
Description: Begin by playing jazz music. Have the group use their arms to direct the musicians through one song. Now think bigger, if possible have the group stand up to use their whole body to move to the music. Suggest waving arms in the air, moving hips, stomping feet, whatever the song calls for. If the members can't stand have them do whatever body movements they can in their chair. Now pass out paper and paints. Have the group listen to an upbeat jazz song and paint how the music sounds. What color is the music? Is it jagged lines or wavy? Does it call to mind a picture? Or specify there to be no imagery and only shapes and colors. Once the song is over change to a slow and moody song. Have the participants use the paint again to give life to the music. Now compare the pictures. Did the paintings change in color or shape? What are the feelings that the picture conjures up? Process with the group.

Crystal Ball (This project was designed with Ground Hogs day in mind)
Population: Geriatric, adult, children
Media: 11" x 14" paper with a large circle and a base pre-drawn (a crystal ball), markers, pencils, and/ or oil pastels of varying colors.
Description: Begin the group by discussing what a crystal ball is. What is it supposed to tell the person looking into it? Like the ground-hog predicts the length of our winter, what do you predict for yourself come spring time while looking into your crystal ball? Ask the members to draw into the crystal ball what they hope for themselves in the future. Is it flowers? Family visits? A good grade? A birthday party? The options are countless and it creates a pictures of images to look forward to. Have each member share what they see in their crystal ball with the group. Can people relate to one another? Process feelings through with the group.

What art therapy techniques have you done recently?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

January Art Therapy Tasks

Happy new year everyone! This month's theme is all about Vegas! and of course the new year!
Enjoy these art tasks and please feel free to share your own art therapy techniques you used this month or any other ideas.

New Years Hopes and Wishes

Population: Children, Adults, Geriatrics
Media: 18" x 24" construction paper with the year printed largely in the center with bubble numbers, markers, glitter, sequins, craft pom-poms, craft decorations etc.
Directions: Begin by discussing with the group the idea of resolutions. Has anyone in the group made resolutions in the past and stuck with it or dropped it mid year? Have resolutions changed over the years? Discuss positive resolutions versus negative ones (to start a new habit versus dropping a bad one). Might there be a wish or a hope for the self in the new year? the group? the world? As group members begin to shout out wishes/hopes/resolutions write them into the year numerals on the construction paper. Once everyone has added something decorate the sign as a group. Pass the construction paper around or everyone work together at the same time. Use the team decorated sign as motivation throughout the new year.

Changing Something Old into Something New
Population: Children, Adults, Geriatric
Media: Spin Art toy, white paper cut to fit appropriately to the toy, acrylic paints, scissors, glue stick, 8 1/2" x 11" white or colored paper.
Directions: Begin by having the group take turns using the Spin Art tool to make paintings. Have fun and enjoy the creative process! Once every individual has a painting ask the group to either tear or cute the painting into smaller pieces. Take the smaller pieces and rearrange them into brand new paintings. Follow up with the group by discussing what it felt like to cut up a painting. Is the new one better or worse than the original? How does this relate to the new year and potential resolutions or other changes made throughout life?

Silver Lining
Population: Geriatric, Adults
Media: 4" x 4" white paper, markers (the bright colors work best), black acrylic or poster paint, small sponge brushes or large paint brushes, and popsicle sticks.
Directions: Begin by discussing the idea of a "silver lining", what does it mean? can anyone think of a silver lining experience in their life? Now have each member chose 3 colors that represent an experience in their life where something did not go as planned or was a negative event. Have the group fill up their 4" x 4" white paper with color only, no imagery, to express that event.
As the group finishes coloring, have everyone paint over the colors with black acrylic paint. While the paint is being applied and/or drying, ask the group to think about a silver lining to their negative experience. Using the popsicle sticks, scrape away the black paint to reveal the colors underneath in order to create a new image that represents the "silver lining".
Once everyone has finished, have each member share their initial negative experience, and the silver lining they were able to find in that event. *It is perfectly fine if some individuals do not want to share their negative event, or if they are unable to follow the instructions and instead choose to just create!

Incomplete Deck of Cards
Population: Geriatric, Adults, Children
Media: A deck of cards (incomplete or full, just be prepared to cut them up), scissors, 11" x 14" paper, glue, markers are optional.
Directions: Hand each member of the group 5 cards (more or less, whatever works for your group), a pair of scissors and a piece of paper. Tell the group you want them to cut up their cards into varying shapes and sizes. Gauge the reaction, older adults tend to think you are nuts, children and adults might be more inclined to jump right in. Discuss and process any negative reactions to cutting up the cards. Using the new shapes, have the group create an image using the card pieces. Members can use markers to clarify or add color to their image. Once everyone has glued all of his/her pieces, have the group take turns sharing the image. Have each participant tell a story about their picture or title the image.

Vegas Show Girl Feather Fan
Population: Geriatric (including Dementia and Alzheimer's)
Media: Small fold-up fan (or a paper folded into accordion shape), feathers of all different sizes and colors, Elmer's glue, a small dish, jewels and sequins are optional.
Directions: Prepare for the group by putting glue into small dishes for members to share. Each member of the group is given a fan. Show the group how to adhere the feathers to the fan by either 1) dipping feathers into the glue and placing onto the fan, OR 2) squeeze glue onto the fan instead of putting into a dish and place feathers onto the fan. Encourage group members to be creative, add gems and sequins, use different colors of feathers or only a single color for drama. Reminisce with the group about past vacations to Las Vegas. Why is it called "Sin City", what did you do while in Vegas? What musicians used to perform in Las Vegas? Can any one in the group sing a song from one of those singers such as Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin? Have fun with the fans once they have dried such as coming up with a show girl dance.

What art therapy techniques did you do this month?