Seven beneficiaries who recently attended the Health and Wellbeing programme at Harcombe House became the first to take part in an innovative art therapy trial, led by Art Psychotherapist Daisy Rubinstein. While introducing the session, she explained the nature of the trial; to find out whether art therapy would be something attendees would appreciate or find helpful as part of their programme, and that it was a safe space for any and all expression that came to them.
Having been presented with a blank canvas for their own creation, beneficiaries had time to create whatever they’d like to. For one, who had previously been recommended to try and use art as a way to express the emotional trauma he felt, the session came at a very welcome time for both him and his wife. In his feedback on the course earlier, he managed to capture this profound feeling: “A picture means a lot,” he writes. “It is a self-structured, meaningful diagram of internal strife and muddles. What a relief to see an event in the same way as your psyche.”
“I found myself drawing my tranquil place – the place where I am most relaxed. The session seemed to tap into my own calm and allowed me a time out”
“Taking time for yourself and working towards something can be a very powerful experience,” says Rehabilitation Services Lead Nicky Patton. “A lot of the time, we’re all so busy trying to juggle three or four things at once, but the biggest feedback we had was how much people enjoyed being able to focus on one thing, and how our environment at Harcombe House felt safe to do so. These two things are very special and unique to our programmes.”
Other feedback from participants reflected this attitude. One said they felt it was ‘safe place to talk, do art, and express feelings’ and another’s comments said despite feeling ‘uncertain’ at the beginning they soon got comfortable with it: “As soon as I started, it was just time out of my head and the chaos in it,” they write. “It allowed me to stop, and I found myself drawing my tranquil place – the place where I am most relaxed. The session seemed to tap into my own calm and allowed me a time out.”
“We’re so pleased with how positively people have responded so far,” says Nicky. “We’re looking to extend the range of activities we can offer as part of our programmes, and use these to promote positive mental health.”
Daisy will be running further arts therapy sessions over the coming weeks and inviting more beneficiaries to join her.