I have been with this service for almost five years.
I have worked intensely with several patients who have had long term mental health conditions, just some of the successes are;
RJ – in conjunction with psychology sessions she was offered one session a week with extra time and visits on her unit to form a good therapeutic relationship, Julie had been in services for many years (20+) as an inpatient and through provision of intensive treatment over 2 years R is now living, with support, in her own property. She had developed a greater capacity to manage aggression and to communicate her distresses to be worked through in a more rational and cohesive way.
SN; S was offered 2 x weekly sessions with additional input for a very chaotic and aggressive presentation. Through the provision of art psychotherapy sessions in an attachment framework she was able to work towards a discharge to supported living within a year after being in services for over 5/6 years as an inpatient.
CK; C was offered art psychotherapy within a framework of resolving complex issues with bereavement, loss of family and children whilst struggling with fear and anxieties provoked by her mild learning disability. She is now in supported communal living after 5 years in mental health services inpatient model. Art psychotherapy helped her to make art and talk in a non-threatening way using many coping mechanisms for her self-harming behaviour and her propensity to abscond.
MG; Was a treatment resistant schizophrenia patient who was unable to manage any intimacy from his caregivers and art psychotherapy and the protected space made huge strides forward in his toleration of intimacy. He was mostly non-verbal and the opportunity for him to manage the development of a relationship through his art was very powerful. M moved to France to live with his mother.
TJ; I have known and worked with T across 2 private hospital services and she has improved in her personal interactions and developed a greater sense of herself and her difficulties. She has now been free of her peg feed for over two years and her therapy is framed as 'maintenance' as she may never recover enough to be independently living due to the significant loss of her disabled daughter. Her treatment is vital to the maintenance and stability of her mental health.
LM; L is the greatest success story, for over three and a half years she received art psychotherapy and psychology input totalling four sessions a week. L presented with complex BPD and trauma related symptomatology which was re-diagnosed by Dr Lisa Nolan as DID (dissociative identity disorder). L was admitted on 2:1 observations and exhibited life-threatening behaviour. Throughout her treatment she was able to communicate her internal world through image making and used a variety of creative responses to work through trauma unknown to all of her system of functioning. L used Lilly the therapy dog to form a large part of her isolation whilst completing her treatment and is now in shared lives provision with a family in the community. This was a very successful case study for co-working psychology, art psychotherapy and OT for the patient's recovery.
Linda Irivine, Art Therapist.