Although JourneyCare patient Sandi Bounds has only been dabbling in art for a month, she creates with the passion of a pro.
Sitting in her Woodstock living room surrounded by photos, scrapbooks, clay and pigment, she collaborates with JourneyCare Art Therapist Megan Andriano on whatever moves her soul.
“We don’t have anything in mind when we start our projects,” Sandi says as she works a piece of clay into the shape of a flower. “We just go with the day.”
Art therapy has helped the 39-year-old mother since she chose JourneyCare to support her, as she faces renal failure and its symptoms. Often, Sandi’s projects focus on capturing memories, such as embellished scrapbooks of her 17-year-old son, her mother, Susan, and her nieces and nephews. In just a short month, she has already created more than a dozen scrapbooks.
She also works with clay to mold necklace charms or to sculpt freestanding pieces. Often, they feature personal touches like her fingerprints.
“I think if I can leave something like this behind for my family, they will know that I loved them,” Sandi said. “With my scrapbooks, I want my family to see themselves the way I saw them.”
For patients of all ages, art therapy can enhance physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Self-expression through art can help resolve conflicts and problems, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness and achieve insight.
Andriano says art therapy can also aid symptoms like anxiety and pain, while giving patients an outlet to communicate about their illness and facilitat
e exploration of spiritual concerns.
“The art making processes and finished art products can both create a space for patients to express and maintain control in a world of change and loss,” Andriano explains.
For Sandi, art therapy helps ease symptoms like exhaustion and gives her motivation.
“Normally during the day I am tired, but for art therapy I am bright-eyed and bushy tailed,” Sandi says with a laugh. “It gives me something to look forward to.”
JourneyCare’s Art Therapy program is not funded by insurance of any kind, so donations from supporters are what make these weekly sessions possible for patients like Sandi.
In tandem with Sandi’s clinical care from her JourneyCare doctor, nurses and CNAs, art therapy and visits from a chaplain have made a profound difference in Sandi’s daily routine, according to her mother Susan.
“JourneyCare has brought an important mix,” Susan explains. “The nurses and CNAs are a great source of information and support. They are very open and honest with answers to our questions and I like that.
“And art therapy seems to bring Sandi’s confidence back. I am not creative, but we can collaborate with her sculpting and me baking the clay in the oven. Sandi loves these projects and art therapy has really given her a boost.”
– By Elisabeth Mistretta, JourneyCare Content Specialist
Originally published in Together to Care, Issue 2, 2017