What illness strips away from a person; art has the power to replace. Through the many mediums of art – drawing, painting, writing, or simply coloring – an individual is able to reconnect to themselves and their world. According to Briah Luckey, M.A.A.T, art therapy, “Is really a mindfulness or deep listening that ultimately uses color and form to express a story. It is very powerful.”
Art – The Power to Transform & Connect
The power of art is now readily available to Regional Hospice and Home Care’s (RHHC) patients, since Luckey joined the staff as an Art Therapist. Her gentle, compassionate approach to art therapy is offered in a, “context of life review,” guided by the belief that art is, “a healing, alternative expression that allows a person to witness themselves and their relationship to others.” Her beliefs come from personal experience, as she utilized photography and painting to connect with her Great Aunt and later her Grandmother, while serving as caregiver to both women in their final years.
A Personalized Art Therapy Session
Briah utilizes here experience and passion for art, teamed with a Master of Arts in Art Therapy degree, to foster the therapeutic benefits of art including increased confidence, improved self-awareness, reduced anxiety levels and a greater sense of connection. Briah focuses on building rapport with patients by listening deeply to them in order to get a sense of, “how they see the world.” She also tries to attune to the person so that she can offer the art medium that is most appropriate. That combination of active listening and holding space for an individual helps them to feel safe even when difficult emotions arise. Patients are thoroughly supported throughout the process, and also encouraged to play, which helps them to, “experience their vitality.”
Everyone is an Artist
Many people think they can’t make art, so Briah provides multiple options for expression. When asked for an example, she dug into a bag brimming with supplies and pulled out a beautiful paper art frame, explaining that she suggests art projects that have success built into them. The art frame example includes a blank white circle of paper that the participant can use to craft a mandala. Mandalas are free-form, circular shapes that have been shown to promote relaxation and grounding. There is no wrong way to complete one. If a patient is having a hard time embracing the art, Briah will guide them through a meditation to help them tap into their intuition and feel comfortable in expressing themselves with compassion. Sometimes it is as simple as having the person pick a color that appeals to them and then they use that color as a base. There is no need for prior experience and no rules which gives the participant complete freedom.
A Gift that Keeps Giving
Patients usually cherish their final artwork as those pieces help them establish identity beyond their illness. The artwork also fosters conversation between RHHC staff and volunteers, along with the patient’s family members, who often connect with the works as treasured keepsakes. For Briah, “Art therapy enhances the dimension of hospice care provided. It also gives patients their individuality – to be seen more broadly, deeply – as a whole.“ She is happy to be working at Regional Hospice and Home Care where she can, “support people on their journey as opposed to treating symptoms.” Such patient-centered support is at the heart of our hospice care, making Briah Luckey a wonderful fit for the RHHC team.
Welcome Briah! We look forward to the beautiful, healing art you will inspire. For more on Briah, visit her blog, www.briahluckey.com.
Learn more about the many Complementary Therapies offered through Regional Hospice and Home Care.