Willem de Kooning, an artist was diagnosed to be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia; nevertheless, he constantly created his art works (fig 5). Espinel (1996) explains that painting assisted de Kooning to sustain his creativity notwithstanding the development of Alzheimer's disease and related dementia. Espinel further explains that 'recovery' through colours and forms afforded him a path for him to restore himself. Within this context, art remained an aid to manage his ailment and his living.
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that can occur with dementia alongside. Art psychotherapy can aid this disease, the therapist and patient get occupied in the art-making process and the symptoms ultimately subside. A patient with Parkinson’s disease stated that “When I am painting I forget about Parkinson’s, and it forgets about me” (EPDA, 2014). Active programs of experiencing art and performing music have been indicated to assist in the management of Parkinson's disease patients. The utilization of music instigated motor and emotional reactions, enhancing the influence of life of the patients (Pacchetti, 2000). Music encouraged rhythmic foot tapping in cerebral palsy patients, a result which was initially not achieved by command, showing the positive influence of music in patients with neurological disorders (Ghika, 1995).
iMPsychologized / April 2014 5
Figure 6 (Alzheimer patients work).
Patients with Alzheimer’s respond to art
psychotherapy in various ways. The above
painting (fig 6) is by a woman who uses the
brush like a pencil to draw; she was unable
to draw straight lines. ‘In her paintings she
evoked real events and people in her life
that she had never relived before to
anyone in the hospital’ (Waller, 2002).
The practices and concepts of art psychotherapy have developed both within and outside the scope of psychotherapy. Today, it has grown and rapidly expanded into a crucial field in health care. With increasing technological sophistications, art psychotherapy continues to proliferate, not only with new and well-defined professional roles for practicing therapists and in wide array of institutions for academic research and clinical settings, but also with fresh methods and concepts. For several patients, art psychotherapy helps them to move on, generally ‘embarking on a voyage of self-discovery and psychological rehabilitation’ (Wood, 1998).
the hospital’ (Waller, 2002).