St Andrew’s Hospital commitment to providing high quality mental health services is being highlighted this week for Mental Health Week, featuring one of its unique patient group therapy programs, Art Therapy. This type of therapy is particularly effective in engaging patients who may struggle to participate in more traditional ‘talking therapies’, as the creative process helps explore and express unconscious material that is often difficult to put into words.
The Arts Therapy program at St Andrew’s Hospital, South Ward and Psychology Clinic, is guided by Arts Psychotherapist Ms Amanda Moss, who offers patients a range of creative art activities aimed at improving an individual’s quality of life and supporting their recovery. “Art psychotherapy involves engaging in art-making activities such as painting, drawing, journaling, mask making, sculpture and various other creative arts-based processes in a therapeutic setting. There is no requirement for artistic ability, as art therapy focuses on the creative process and the expression of thoughts and feelings through artmaking, rather than on the finished product” said Ms Moss describing the therapy process. “It involves the use of different therapy techniques and interventions, supporting patient’s emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual wellbeing”.
The Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapies Association (ANZACATA) online resources explain how art therapy uses creative processes to help people express unconscious material, that is often difficult to articulate in words. The website explains how art therapy can provide a supportive space for people to practise new behaviours, that can be more effective than simply talking about change. It can also help those who have limited choices in their life, to use the safe space to learn to tolerate the uncertainty of the unknown, and to become more comfortable to be able to open up new possibilities in their lives. Using the arts, people are more likely to practice new patterns of more healthy behaviour with the activities practiced in this treatment model, providing new hobbies and interests which are vital for ongoing self-support.
Creative art therapies can also increase resilience by improving self-understanding through the ability to express feelings symbolically. This can give new perspectives on a patient’s self and view of the world, which can assist in the recovery process.
The Hospital has created an online event entitled Art+Healing+Health which is featured on the official Queensland Mental Health Week website at www.qldmentalhealthweek.org.au and showcases a selection of art pieces that have been created by St Andrew’s patients. The art pieces can also be viewed via the Hospital’s digital platforms such as the Hospital’s website www.sath.org.au/news and its social media Facebook page.
The St Andrew’s Hospital state of the art Mental Health Facility staffed by Visiting Doctors, experienced Psychologists and Mental Health Nurses, aims to provide an environment that is supportive, confidential, and therapeutic.
Inpatients staying at the Hospital Facility are provided with evidence based/recovery focused care and treatment. Patient’s needs and goals are the central focus of care, with loved one’s involvement and participation encouraged throughout the patient’s journey at St Andrew’s Hospital, South Ward and Psychology Clinic.
“Private mental health facilities treat more than 32,000 Australians each year for depression, anxiety, substance abuse and eating disorders” said Chief Executive Officer of St Andrew’s Hospital, Mr Wally Bourdelov. “St Andrew’s contribution and investment in the Toowoomba and Darling Downs premier private mental health service, alongside a range of medical and surgical facilities if required, offers patients a broad range of services. We have been supporting the local community with mental health services for over 20 years, so our team can offer a real depth of experience and knowledge in this specialised area of medicine and have built trust to deliver the highest quality services, with both patients and doctors on the Darling Downs.”