"Art therapy is the deliberate use of art-making to address psychological and emotional needs. Art therapy uses art media and the creative process to help in areas such as, but not limited to: fostering self-expression, enhancing coping skills, managing stress, and strengthening a sense of self."

--The Art Therapy Alliance



"We use the creative art process to facilitate personal well-being."

--Northern Ireland Group for Art as Therapy (NIGAT)


"Art Therapy is about using art as a tool for communication and through the therapeutic relationship, emotional, psychosocial and developmental needs are addressed with the intention of effecting lasting change."

--Hong Kong Association of Art Therapists (HKAAT)

Art Therapy, Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia, and Neurodegenerative Disorders

Learn about art therapy with Alzheimer's Disease, dementia, and other neurodegenerative disorders. Join the Art Therapy Alliance LinkedIn group: Art Therapy & Older Adults with Neurodegenerative Disorders. It provides a forum for the open exchange of ideas, therapeutic protocols, articles, resources, news, and information relating to the older adult population. Anyone interested in or currently working with older adults using art therapy is welcome to join in discussions or post questions.

The manager of this group, Amanda Alders is currently pursuing a PhD, specializing in Art Therapy at FSU in Tallahassee, FL and will be adding and responding to discussions every other Friday.

Description of this networking group: "Older adults are considered a “vulnerable” population with specific needs and a wide range of behavioral tendencies. Collaboration among therapists may serve to provide a strong footing for providing high quality care to a rapidly growing segment of the world population. For this reason, by participating in group discussions, therapists will be able to share insight into the approaches that they find most effective and person centered. This group will encourage discussions on culturally diverse segments of the elderly population as well as theories associated with neuroplasticity, learning, motivation, and creativity."


Excerpt from "Art Therapy: Using the Creative Process for Healing and Hope Among African American OlderAdults," by Carol M. Johnson, BSN, MA, ATR-BC, and Eileen M. Sullivan-Marx,PhD, CRNP, FAAN:

"Addressing the emotional needs of frail elderly clients in today’s health care environment can be challenging. At times emotional needs can be inadvertently overlooked because of the many physical health problems the client is experiencing. Art therapy is one way to address—respectfully, efficiently and comprehensively—the emotional needs of frail elderly in a culturally competent manner. Art therapy offers healing by providing social connection, the experience of control and the opportunity to both express and manage emotions. It offers hope by facilitating nonverbal communication and providing opportunity to create meaning through life review." For a limited time, download this article from Geriatric Nursing here.


From Everydayhealth. com: How Does Art Therapy Help Someone with Alzheimer’s? A number of benefits are associated with art therapy. These include:

* New way to communicate. Art therapy allows people with Alzheimer’s disease to connect with others in a different, non-verbal way. And it's a healthy method of helping your loved one to express thoughts and feelings and let go of some of the negative emotions they may be experiencing.
* Improved concentration. Art therapy focuses on other possibly untapped areas of the brain and helps to improve concentration in people with Alzheimer's. Art therapy emphasizes abilities that are still available and can be developed rather than focusing on those that have been lost.
* Better behavior. Both viewing and creating art can have a calming effect on someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Similar to the effects of listening to music or playing with pets, art therapy may promote relaxation, improve mood, and decrease disruptive behavior..
* Closer relationships. Art therapy can bring a caregiver and a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease closer together. When other methods of contact become difficult, art therapy reminds the caregiver that the person with Alzheimer’s is still there.

Painting in Twilight: An Artist's Escape from Alzheimer's. From the description: "While victims of Alzheimer's disease and other related dementias are losing their memories and ability to communicate, art can be their escape. "Art can often be a window to bypass the constrictions of dementia, says UAB geriatrician Andrew Duxbury, M.D. "Their brains may be damaged, but the qualities present in children that allow them to express themselves are still there. It's a way for them to express what they're thinking and feeling." This was true for Lester Potts, who began succumbing to Alzheimer's disease at age 70. Art allowed him to express himself after he lost the ability to communicate with words, and his paintings and drawings where often images from his childhood on the Alabama Gulf Coast." Learn Lester's story and view his paintings in this audio slideshow:


Books, Articles, and Other Resources

National Center for Creative Aging. The National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA) is dedicated to fostering an understanding of the vital relationship between creative expression and the quality of life of older people. Creative expression is important for older people of all cultures and ethnic backgrounds, regardless of economic status, age, or level of physical, emotional, or cognitive functioning.

Therapeutic Thematic Arts Programming for Older Adults. Learn about a creative arts therapies method for addressing conditions such as Alzheimer's disease here.

Check back soon for more information!



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