(Oconomowoc, WI) The Delafield Arts Center is featuring a special exhibit centered on recovery that will run through December 31, 2012. Located at 803 Genesee Street in downtown Delafield, the exhibition – Imagery of a Healing Journey – features a selection of paintings, drawings and sculpture from experiential therapy used in treatment at Rogers Memorial Hospital. Patients with art on display range from age 12 to 65.
“Our whole premise in getting these pieces out in the community is to offer a glimpse into some of the innermost experiences of the children, adolescents and adults who receive treatment at Rogers,” Tina Szada, MS, ATR-BC, an art therapist at Rogers’ Eating Disorder Center, said. As a clinical therapist who works in the Experiential Therapy Center at Rogers Memorial Hospital, she stresses the importance of using art as a therapeutic tool on the road to recovery. “We can get so much information from these pieces – they are a great way to start conversations. A picture really is worth a thousand words. The art actually helps to give us a glimpse into how our patients really see themselves and how they are feeling on their road to recovery. Families, too, appreciate the insight the art gives them.”
Art therapy encourages creative problem-solving to help patients develop healing insight and strengthen the recovery process. Using a variety of media in structured activities, the art therapists at Rogers Memorial Hospital help to guide patients in exploring emotions in a safe, nonjudgmental environment. The pieces are also used to challenge patients’ preconceived expectations and increase their ability to focus on solutions.
“We use art in a number of ways,” Szada continued. “For example, patients might smash clay to reflect their frustrations or they might create a sculpture of their own body image. In this exhibit, you’ll see drawings that demonstrate how patients being treated for eating disorders view themselves on one side with the other side reflecting the therapist’s actual body trace – the differences are dramatic.”
The new exhibit features three galleries that illustrate patients’ struggles with their illness, discoveries made during treatment and the hope they have for recovery. Art is used as part of experiential therapy, which involves actions, movements and activities rather than the more traditional “talking” used in counseling sessions. Examples of experiential therapy include art, movement, music, recreation, adventure/outdoor education and fitness. At Rogers, experiential therapy is thoroughly integrated into treatment, with more than a third being experiential in nature. Rogers has one of the largest experiential therapy programs in the area, with about 40 experiential therapists working at the hospital’s five locations.
“The good news is that treatment works and recovery is possible,” Szada said. “Mental illness is treatable. The pieces on display will show that – you’ll see the shift in patients’ perceptions and new, recovery-focused ways of thinking. The exhibit offers hope to anyone who might be battling eating disorders and other kinds of mental illness. There really is hope.”
The Delafield Arts Center is open at 11 a.m. Tuesday-Sunday, with closing at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; at 5 p.m. Saturdays; at 2 p.m. on Sundays; and extended hours until 8 p.m. on Thursdays.