Therapeutic Art Sessions for the Elderly

Each therapeutic art sessions is more than the sum of its parts.  Held weekly, The Art Clubs come together in their respective homes to draw, colour-in, and to paint – and participants experience so much more!

The shared creative experience is one that is carefully created and managed.  In the sessions people are treated as individuals; with stories to tell, knowledge and skills to share, where they are treated with respect and where they feel they can ‘have a go’.  This process of constant ‘climate control’ creates a positive a psychologically safe environment.

“The real role of leadership is climate control, creating a climate of possibility. And if you do that, people will rise to it and achieve things that you completely did not anticipate and couldn’t have expected.” (Sir Ken Robinson. 2013)

Adult learning theories guide how the creative session is delivered to participants, and how a psychologically safe context is created in order for them to enjoy their experience. 

Novelty, complexity, and problem solving are introduced in the colouring and painting sessions.  While the subjects of the painting sessions generate memories, conversation, and laughter – the process of painting the images provides autonomy to the resident in an otherwise prescribed and often confusing world.  They feel supported and encouraged enough to ‘have a go’ and to overcome any anxieties they experience in life or during the session.

Whether the subject is referential (e.g. we can see the image is a horse) or non-referential (e.g. the image is abstract like a mandala), the residents often experience ‘creative flow’ after a few minutes of working and they become lost in their work.  Concentration and focus are peaked and anxieties, worries and stresses are temporarily forgotten (Dr. Peter Cammock, The Spirit of Leadership, 2009).

Creativity is Inevitable

“Right beneath the surface are these seeds of possibility waiting for the right conditions to come about, and with organic systems, if the conditions are right, life is inevitable…You change the conditions, give people a different sense of possibility, a different set of expectations, …you cherish and value the relationships between teachers and learners, you offer people the discretion to be creative and to innovate in what they do, and [people] that were once bereft spring to life.”(Sir Ken Robinson. 2013)

The residents have benefited greatly from the weekly sessions.  Both the frequency of the sessions and the repetition of the task has enabled the residents to produce incredible pieces of art, to amaze their families, and to surprise themselves.

The pictures below speak a thousand words and are testament to the progress the participating residents have made.

Examples of Residents' Artwork
From left to right, and coming down, the residents progress is easy to see.

Therapeutic Art Coaching for Seniors.

These creative and fun therapeutic art sessions focus on exploring the skills and abilities participants still have, whilst bringing people together in a relaxed and social setting. My creative sessions put the learner/artist relationship first and give participants the opportunity to connect with one and other.

WhatBox Creative projects and sessions focus on exercising a person’s creativity in a social and psychologically safe environment. The person’s experience and their creative process precede the outcome.

I meet individuals at their level of ability as they learn new skills, experience and play with art materials, interact with those around them, and grow friendships. 

Participants enjoy a sense of accomplishment from these autonomous and empowering therapeutic art sessions that are designed to enrich the lives of those taking part.

The creative work that takes place is drawn from academic research and focusses on the skills and abilities that the participants still have, rather than those they have lost.

To view photos from the sessions I run please visit my Therapeutic Arts Sessions page