Art has long been understood to be a universal language for life experience, like music and dance. We tend to think of art as the realm of artists, but this is not so. Anyone can enjoy art without needing particular skills, and often find extraordinary pleasure and achievement in the process.
We all know that children respond well to the use of art as a way of telling their stories, but this does not exclude adults who with a similar approach, might do the same. The key may be for adults to free themselves of critical self judgement and use art materials in the same ‘playful’ way a child might explore and experiment.
This approach creates the opportunity for the expression of unspoken stories and deep feelings. If we view art as a window to the imagination, we will understand how we can become in touch with areas of our experience that may not otherwise be expressed. As one patient said “This is soul-work, isn’t it?”
Art can become the symbol or metaphor for what is difficult to name, and the process of creating can be liberating and emotionally healing. Many respected studies have been made into the health benefits of art and it is now frequently available in health organisations around the world.
People often find themselves overwhelmed by new and challenging experience; there may be little time or space to gather our thoughts and feel our feelings. Our Art Program has been developed as a complementary therapy to help support the emotional well-being of clients and families in palliative care.
Our art program coordinator, Jane Smeets has a background in Visual Art and Narrative Therapy, including experience with children and bereavement.
A letter of appreciation – Jelly Cottage – A Client’s Perspective
SAPS Art Program brochure – SAPS Art Program