Headway House has a wonderful art therapy room and a dedicated, state registered art therapist whose enthusiasm and understanding of head and brain injury is an inspiration to all.
She inspires members to produce work that helps them to process and express feelings as well as stimulating the brain and offering physical benefits such as improved coordination skills.
Art Therapy at Headway House
Art Therapy and Neurological Conditions
Herefordshire Headway has a dedicated state registered art therapist who is also trained as an artist. She specialises in art therapy with neuro disabilities, which involves addressing the cognition, psychology and neurology of each individual with ABI.
Small groups and individual sessions take place in the well equipped therapeutic environment of the art room.
Art therapy uses particular approaches that help to resolve cognitive and psychological difficulties after ABI.
How Art therapy can help with neuro-rehabilitation Neuroplasticity
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as a way of communication.
Art has long been known to have therapeutic properties. When people create visual images, people ‘draw’ on the right side of the brain – the same side that is used before spoken language develops. It is where visual memories are stored.
For centuries, scientists believed that the brain was a fixed entity and incapable of reorganising after brain injury. Due to MRI scanning and research, neuroscientists find evidence that the brain is able to compensate for the damaged areas. Art therapy uses specific approaches, which stimulate the brain to repair neural connections. Art therapy also addresses the psychological issues that accompany this life-changing trauma in clients’ lives.
Cognition and Emotions
Art therapy offers all the components of psychotherapy and art therapy, working with the cognitive, emotional and neurological needs of each client – so often affected after ABI.
Art can be a suitable therapy for clients who find there are no words to describe and express their thoughts and feelings due to brain damage, which has affected their speech or an inability to put into words what they need to convey.
Art therapy is beneficial for clients who have speech and memory loss, behavioural difficulties, co-ordination and balance, can raise awareness of self and others, heighten confidence and self esteem, and learn to socialise again.
Art therapy enables clients to address and resolve feelings of isolation and adjusting to their life after brain injury.
The art therapist has particular cognitive approaches for relearning skills or learning new skills for the future well being of each client.
Learning to write again, often with a different hand after a stroke, and learning to speak again, where the flow in drawing or painting can help the flow in speech are a few of the many issues addressed in art therapy.
Who can use art therapy?
There is no need to be good at art.
Whether dealing with stroke rehab, brain injury rehab or management of a neurological illness, art therapy can bring huge benefits for service users.
There is no need to be ‘good at art.’
The value of the creative process, which promotes growth and change, is more important than the end product. However, some clients have found hidden talent – almost as if brain damage releases ‘something’ that was already present but inhibited. Most clients want to return to ‘normal’ life as quickly as possible. Art therapy can help to find ways to adjust and compensate to deal with deficits. Art therapy is provided for groups or for individuals, depending on the clients’ condition and needs.
What is a registered Art therapist or Art Psychotherapist?
A Registered Art Therapist or Art Psychotherapist is someone who has undertaken an approved training in Art Therapy at postgraduate, MA or MSc level, and who is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. (HCPC) and the British Association of Art therapists (BAAT)
Comments about Art Therapy by service users
“Something I do which makes me feel valued as a person”
“ I like coming to group art therapy because it has made me realise that others have the same problems. We relax and have a good laugh together.”
“It’s more than art – new ways of dealing with life”
“I found my skill in painting – I don’t suffer fools gladly – I am confident – I can say what I think”
“I like coming because I have got my memory now but I didn’t have much before”
“To survey my situation positively, my stroke has enabled me to connect with my artistic side again. During my years of work in business I did not touch it until attending art therapy at the centre and connecting with my creative side again – now I cannot do without it”
“I had so much benefit from art therapy. …real lasting benefits that I’ve been able to carry on with on my own, like a new way of doing things and different method of coping. I think I got more from it that I ever thought possible.”