Art Materials for In-Patient Psychiatric Consumers During Combined Art and Music Therapy Activities
Art and music therapy have been practiced for many years in the treatment of individuals with psychiatric illness. This series of posts will focus on patients in an in-patient psychiatric hospital, where consumers stay an average of 13 days. The male and female consumers range in age from young adult to senior citizens. The consumers are housed in separate units by gender, severity of illness or forensic status. One unit for more stable patients is co-ed. The patients are seen for therapy both on the unit and sometimes off the unit in an “art room.”
Music and art therapists often work at the same facility, but are likely to work independently when conducting therapy groups. Some art therapy directives may be effectively combined with music to provide a different experience or outcome. This series will explore the materials needed for five combined art and music interventions: drawing, using clay, creating mandalas and collages, and painting.
All of the directives discussed in the following examples can be done on the units, although there is an “art” room that some of the patients can visit for certain groups. Each unit has a dining room area with long rectangular tables. I do not recommend using tablecloths because they disrupt the surface and feel of the table, especially for drawing and painting. For this reason, most of the supplies are water-based and listed as washable to facilitate cleaning up the unit areas.
I have previously talked about using the mandala in music therapy. You can find some other posts about mandalas here and here. Some of these posts have been very popular, which leads me to believe that there are many music therapists interested in combining music and art for therapy. I include this activity again in order to specifically discuss the art materials.
Mandalas can be a drawing or painting activity and used as an individual or group directive. Individual mandalas can be used to provide focus of attention while a group mandala can involve problem solving skills and greatly increase social interaction. Music, either live or recorded, may be used to influence the mood, images or kinesthetic action during the art directive. The main difference in materials for this activity, in comparison to the previously mentioned drawing interventions, is that a larger piece of paper may be needed if the objective outcome is one large group mandala. Thirty-six inch roll paper works well for this project and a large mandala circle can be pre-cut for the group activity. It is also recommended to pre-cut all the circles for individual mandalas so that scissors do not need to be taken into the units and therapy groups. Tape will likely be required to facilitate the display of the individual or large group mandalas.
Stay tuned for the rest of the series when I discuss using clay, collages and painting!