Clinical Art Therapy Services at the Jubilee Hospital
One of our participants tells us what the art therapy program means to him:
“After losing my job 7 years ago to depression and anxiety, the Art Therapy Program opportunity through Victoria Mental Health has given me a “job” to go to and a sense of belonging to something where I can create, learn and obtain an achievable outcome.”
The Proulx Foundation is proud to support our community doing what we do best: art therapy! With the financial support of the Vancouver Island Health Authority we provide various art therapy services at the Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, BC. Participants are referred to our program, go through an intake with our staff, and receive these services free of charge. For many, it becomes a life-altering experience set in a foundation of arts- based growth.
This service is a three- tiered Art Therapy Program:
The first section of the program is called The Open Studio. It is a client centered art therapeutic studio for adults with mental health and addictions issues. It is a safe and supportive place that helps to develop creativity, self-expression, independence, interpersonal skills, personal growth, improved well being, and illness recovery. This is a one day per week commitment and takes place in a shared studio space with other participants. Clients are encouraged to explore a wide variety of media and explore themes individually while in a group setting. The registered Art Therapist with mental health knowledge and fine art expertise is there to maintain safety, support and provide art education on an as needed basis.
The Artist in Residence is the second tier of the program, has the same goals as the Open Studio but is best suited for those who are self-motivated, independent, stable, willing and able to make the larger commitment of twice/week, and have the desire to develop their creativity and self-exploration even further. In this case, participants have the opportunity to have a small personal space within the studio. Participants are encouraged to begin collecting their own supplies and think about how to create their own creative practice at home or in the community once they are discharged from the program.
Community Transitions is the third tier of the program and is where, with the guidance of the art therapist, goals are set for discharge and a plan is made by the participant to maintain creativity as part of their on-going health plan. Other personal goals are incorporated where relevant; such as volunteering, taking classes, going back to work, participating in other support groups etc.
Art Therapy is carried out in a way that always recognizes participant’s dignity and worth. Trauma informed practice and psycho-social rehabilitation practices are weaved into the therapeutic art framework. Each participant receives effective and timely assistance with every effort to empower and promote their independence, self-determination and motivation. All aspects of the program support participants to develop wellness self-management tools. Participants learn how various creative endeavors can be an effective way to achieve emotional self-regulation. This therapeutic modality offers opportunities for not only focused and structured meaningful activity, natural social supports, but also a tool to access joy, peace, relaxation, mindfulness, self-motivation, and common ground with others.
The Art Therapy program at the Jubilee Hospital has provided a very transformative experience for its participants. According to participants, they have experienced improvements in their mental health, as well as in their artistic abilities and interpersonal relationships. One participant felt that since 1989 she “did not have a life,” until 18 months ago, and now feels she is “slowly stepping back into life”. She expresses that her depression and anxiety have lifted. The program is helping one participant become better able to take constructive feedback. This participant has explored abstract mixed media art using recycled materials. She describes her work and process to be expressive of deeply held feelings about her life. If she had not found and developed this vehicle of self expression, she believes that these challenging feelings would most likely remain contained and the depression would take over. One participant claims that his relationships with family members seem to be strengthening and maturing. He is gradually allowing his parents to be responsible for their own issues as a result of his participation in the program.
Comments from Open Studio Participants regarding their experience and how the program has affected their lives thus far:
“This is a safe place to be me and express myself”