Art therapy eases challenges of dementia

Holly ThompsonManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Jackie Lewis, who has a masters in art therapy, teaches the class.
Camera IconJackie Lewis, who has a masters in art therapy, teaches the class. Credit: Holly Thompson

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 post- graduate work.

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She is also a professional member of ANZACATA, The Australian, 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.

Pinning up artwork made by those who attended the workshop.
Camera IconPinning up artwork made by those who attended the workshop. Credit: Holly Thompson

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 in 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.

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