Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Art with Hospice Patients

Today I had the pleasure of facilitating artistic expression with one of my Hospice patients. This gentleman had been a sculptor most of his life creating portraits in clay.  A very fascinating individual!

I contemplated whether to bring in clay or not as sometimes it can frustrate people who were experts at their crafts.  Many times I find myself sharing how artist change styles to help lessen the desire to create as they had done in the past.

This patient immediately began to manipulate the clay and a broad smile spread across his face. I have noticed when people hold and work clay in their hands that they are inclined to talk freely.  In the art therapy world, clay is considered a "loose" medium;  meaning less control as opposed to pencil or markers. I have always wondered if it also meant a loosening of verbal exchange because that is characteristically what happens when clay is present in my sessions.

My sculptor friend insisted throughout our time together that the most important part is the base for everything else is built upon that.  I could not help but think of that as a metaphor for life, and this gentleman is imparting his wisdom to me at the eve of his lifespan.  Like a sculpture, the key to who we are as a person is at the very foundation.  We build upon that base to become the best person that we can be. Thank you, Paul.

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