On the 6th December 2018, I had the privilege to deliver an art therapy workshop to a client group from the Silverlining Brain Injury Charity.
Their mission states their goal is; “to unite, engage and rehabilitate all those affected by brain injury with positivity, purpose and advocacy in their local communities and beyond.”
This was the first time the charity offered such a workshop and in total, nine people attended including; six clients with brain injury, one care worker and two members of the charity staff. Many who attended were known to each other with compassion and encouragement shared among all.
At the start of the group, Silverlining founder Dr. Sherrie Baehr introduced a woman to speak briefly about how having an art practice was supremely beneficial to her recovery from brain injury. Then, the lead was turned over to me and I began by addressing the boundaries of confidentiality, how the workshop timing would be structured, and the art works governance at its end.
The theme of ‘Gratitude’ had been requested by Dr. Baehr and so to prepare the clients for this reflection, I led them through a 10 min. guided meditation based on gratitude. Having settled into cultivating this emotion, the group was then encouraged to engage with the art materials in any way they felt moved to express how they felt. The workshop lasted an hour and a half and ended with a period of sharing of their artworks, their feelings experienced in making them and what the group’s hopes for future art therapy sessions could be.
Resoundingly, all participants expressed having enjoyed the art therapy workshop and wished for more sessions in the future. As the art therapist conducting the session, I was humbled to be in the presence of such honesty, warmth, inspirational strength and comradery. Gratitude appeared to be expanded, projected out and received back to source with art work produced as marks made by the feeling.
– Colleen Steiner Westling