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Specialised Services


I aim to engage art therapy as a transitional therapy for children moving from schools, whether that is geographic moves or from infant to primary, primary to secondary, secondary to tertiary. Giving a 30 minute presentation to prospective teachers and principals at the end of the year would instigate this, pre-empting the program being budgeted for in both time and money allocations for the commencement of the following new year of student enrolments. There is extensive research that acknowledges that children who remain emotionally unsupported will fail to accept their new school, maintain and make friends, thus leading to academic failure and school drop out.


The presentation would include evidence-based material on the effectiveness of Art Therapy in improving children’s happiness by braking down the self-imposed barriers improving peer support and school attendance, hence the school’s educational process providing better scholastic outcomes.




Aged and Dementia Art Processing Therapy (ADAPT)

The ADAPT program was designed as an Art Therapy intervention for the purpose of providing art therapy to a selected group of aged and early dementia clients within a community group setting. The aim of the program was to enhance wellbeing and self-esteem within the client group by providing bilateral stimulation through the use of both the dominant and non-dominant hand. The program was carried out over 6 sessions.

The aim of this intervention was to identify the cognitive and limiting physical abilities of the clients and provide a series of consecutive art therapy groups to enhance the client’s self esteem and wellbeing improving their contribution to and through the dynamics of the ADAPT group. Creating specifically designed art activities attempted to facilitate stimulus for the mind both laterally (conceptually) and logically

A group Art Therapy intervention in a community setting provides additional group support and can be more financially viability for organisatiions. Research shows there is no difference between the outcome of group and individual psychotherapy and that groups are more cost efficient. Before considering the specific intervention I gained valuable information through observation and initial art therapy assessments process to assess how the different members of this population responded to various stimuli.

A group of 9 participants with mild to moderate dementia were chosen for their suitability to a conceptual based approach of Studio art therapy in a group therapy framework.

The group was closed to provide a secure environment to enhance group cohesion involved in-group dynamics. The group was directive, tightly structured with the possibility of more challenging nondirective activity within its framework. Dementia sufferers find that having to make decisions creates anxiety, and respond better to directed activity. The images were discussed relative to what the artist saw, how it sat in the studio environment, and did the change in the environment create a different emotion response? This is based on a Studio Art Therapy structure with an interactive approach to group therapy.

The program was accessed at the end of each session according to group dynamics and social interactions. Common themes were noted both in the artworks and in discussion about the artwork. In this process some individual issues arose and it was important that the group felt secure enough to trust the group confidentiality rules to process this relating it back through their art-making experience.


Introduction of this process to the group involved discussing the difference between art activity and Art Therapy; being a therapeutic ‘agent of change’ using art making as a means to communicate. The check-in and check-out landscape designed by Maggie Wilson, was done as a guide to the impact of the intervention and took place as they sat in a semicircle around the whiteboard drawing at the beginning and end of the session. This was implementing a technique of creating a landscape drawing to record numerically how an individual is feeling at a point in time. This technique was difficult for some clients to grasp, and really wasn’t understood what was asked of them until the end of the session 5. The numerical representations should also be considered within the discussion of circumstances influencing their scores as they can have significant bearing on the outcome, and may give a false indication of the effect of the intervention.

From the numeric measurable feedback outcome, which, on its own would have been misleading, but the comments made around the feedback gave a qualitative record of the intervention, making the evaluation significant and reflective of the clients’ outcomes.

While 7 spoke of the benefited from the sessions, two clients failed to return after the third session. (There was no feedback from the organization of possible reasons, although one client was not expected to live to the end of the program, so illness may have played a part.) It was noted that the client engagement was enthusiastic, supportive, and had become demonstratively playful, which was reflected in their energy levels, which seemed to be maintained from week to week. There was also a noted reduction in anxiety, and increase confidence in their ability to articulate what they wanted to say.  There ability to grasp complex conceptual issues then verbalise and apply them to these to daily life examples was a source of amazement, leading me to the conclusion that much more study needs to be done in this area around this specific component of cognitive loss and differentiating dementia allowing for improved their outcomes using targeted Art Therapy.