Friday, December 14, 2007

Hospice Art Therapy (Audio 5:59 mins.)

Julia Balzer Riley is a holistic nurse and artist from Florida who helps hospice patients through art therapy. She visits them wherever they receive hospice care. Starting this art therapy with cancer patients, she introduced them to painting on silk pieces.

Riley's therapy begins with centering exercises to encourage patients to set the intention for a healing image to come. Emphasis is on the art process, not the product. Patients say they don’t feel pain while they are painting.

Riley explains that patients move into a relaxation response, “fall into the process,” and often smile. Because images are in patients’ minds before words, they represent patients’ emotions. Riley believes art therapy promotes expressions of patients’ feelings and improves their well-being.

You can listen to a more detailed description of this form of hospice art therapy at this website.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
"Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes”
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog

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