Art ther­apy eases chal­lenges of de­men­tia

Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - - News -

An art and cre­ativ­ity work­shop was held at the Man­jimup Well­ness and Re­spite Com­mu­nity Cen­tre on Oc­to­ber 3, for peo­ple liv­ing with de­men­tia.

The day fo­cused on art ther­apy which was used to help peo­ple ex­press how they were feel­ing in a fun and dif­fer­ent way.

Art ther­apy con­sul­tant Jackie Lewis, who took the class, has 10 years ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing for a de­men­tia-spe­cific or­gan­i­sa­tion as an art ther­apy con­sul­tant.

Ms Lewis has com­pleted a fine arts de­gree, a mas­ters in art ther­apy and has un­der­taken coun­selling and su­per­vi­sion post­grad­u­ate work.

She is also a pro­fes­sional mem­ber of ANZACATA, The Aus­train lian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Ther­a­pies As­so­ci­a­tion.

Ms Lewis said she be­lieved art ther­apy was a good ve­hi­cle for ex­pres­sion es­pe­cially for peo­ple who found it dif­fi­cult to voice their emo­tions.

Man­jimup is the first re­gional town Ms Lewis has been to but she said she hoped to go to oth­ers with the class as well.

“I de­signed this work shop over 10 years ago now,” she said

Ms Lewis said now she was work­ing in­de­pen­dently she was happy to get out into the com­mu­nity and share her skills.

“I think the beauty of a coun­try town is that there’s a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties that wouldn’t hap­pen Perth,” she said. The class was also a good way for both car­ers and those liv­ing with de­men­tia to get to know each other.

“Look at ev­ery­body, you know, they’re all learn­ing and shar­ing sto­ries and get­ting to know each other, which is what art is there for,” Ms Lewis said.

“It gives them a chance to ex­press some­thing they might not nor­mally be able to, you know they might be stressed or down or have chronic pain and if you share it there is a lot of sup­port.”

Ms Lewis said in the fu­ture she hoped to travel around Aus­tralia in a mo­bile home and con­tinue to bring work­shops like this to other coun­try towns.

Jackie Lewis, who has a mas­ters in art ther­apy, is keen to take the class to coun­try towns around Aus­tralia.

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