A new 12-week art therapy group, which aims to support residents to engage more with others, is underway at a specialist care home.
Marner House, in Nuneaton and owned by Voyage Care, provides specialist person-centred care and support. It offers a rehabilitation pathway to individuals with a brain injury and complex needs such as cognitive, physical and/or emotional difficulties, including aggression, impaired social functioning and disinhibited behaviour.
As well as one-to-one sessions with individual residents, the group project led by Emma D’Souza, art therapist at Chroma, was developed to encourage a long-term resident who had suffered an acquired brain injury (ABI), to socialise with fellow residents and engage creatively with art materials officering an opportunity to increase decision making, coordination and mobility.
The art therapy sessions work to support and discover what kind of materials the client is able to use comfortably to improve dexterity and to build confidence.
Painting proved the way forward, using different colours and surfaces to increase communication and a love of fishing and the countryside inspired the client; having seen the joy the art therapy provided, other residents began to join the sessions.
The group are working towards creating a collage as their final piece. Due to the nature of their injuries, residents struggle with decision-making, so the session centres on encouraging the group to decide on colours, style and things to do. And, as the client loves quizzes, these have been incorporated into the sessions as a way to stimulate dialogue.
Emma said: “The residents who have joined us are more independent and comfortable creating their own artwork which allows me to still support my original client, as well as helping others access materials. They all enjoy making art but also value group dynamics and everything else around the session just as much.”
Since the group started, the therapeutic relationship has developed between therapist and client, with the client feeling more confident and engages more with residents and staff.
Emma continued: “Working with this client initially, and then seeing others join in too, has been amazing. There are a lot of struggles following a brain injury, especially with identity – who they are and how they move forward.
“Also, following a brain injury, some residents struggle to engage, and become more isolated and less motivated, so art therapy is a great way to bring people together.”
Louise Houghton, ABI placements manager at Voyage Care, said: “The group sessions have proven to be a great way to support our residents’ wellbeing, confidence and improve social interaction not just during the group sessions but also wider, within the home.
“To see art therapy activity grow organically is wonderful especially as the residents are actively using art (and quizzes in this case) to improve relationships between them, and support staff and myself, which improves their quality of life at the home.”
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