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  • 1. Healing Garden Project Chris Ann Drosdick, Art Therapy Counselor 2009
  • 2. Overview
    • The Healing Garden project began as an aesthetic enhancement for an adult psychiatric inpatient population.
    • 3. A former smoking area on an outdoor atrium was drab and uninviting.
  • 4. Starting Point
    • This large concrete wall was the initial focus
    • 5. Step one was to remove 25 years of nicotine stains from the wall.
  • 6. The Design Plan
    • Management supported the project and placed very few limitations on the mural design.
    • 7. The mural was to be bright and colorful.
    • 8. The mural was to be inviting, to encourage patients to step outside in the fresh air.
    • 9. The mural was to be wordless – to discourage graffiti.
  • 10. The Process
    • Patients assisted in the completion of the entire project
    • 11. The art therapist served as the guide for the overall design of the project
    • 12. Here you see the start of the sun, flower urn and a butterfly.
  • 13. The Process
    • Large and colorful hibiscus flowers were plotted in.
    • 14. Hibiscus symbolize love and divination.
  • 15. The Garden Walk
    • We began with several terra cotta pots and no plants.
    • 16. With a grant from St. Mary's Catholic Church in Hudson, Ohio – we were able to create The Healing Garden and purchase the paint needed.
  • 17. The Garden Walk
    • Each flowerpot was painted a different color, corresponding to the chakras within the body.
    • 18. Next, an affirmation was painted on each pot.
  • 19. Plant Symbolism
    • Perennials were added in the garden, each with symbolic meaning.
    • 20. Delphinium (aka Larkspur) symbolizes an open heart, ardent attachment and convey a feeling of lightness and levity.
  • 21. The Garden Walk
    • Some plants we started from seed – patients were thrilled to see cucumbers growing in the garden.
    • 22. “No garden is without weeds” by Thomas Fuller provides food for thought.
  • 23. The Process
    • A patient with active psychosis sketched this profile of a man in the area of the sun.
    • 24. Management asked I remove the profile as some patients felt it was frightening.
  • 25. Lesson Learned
    • As an art therapist, I appreciate the spontaneous expression art can bring about.
    • 26. Management does not always agree.
    • 27. Documentation of the process helps to preserve these moments.
  • 28. Final Product
    • Changes made to the sun.
    • 29. Cloud with silver lining in the sky.
    • 30. Sunflowers finished.
  • 31. Walk Overview
    • A handout was created which offered a patient the opportunity to walk the Healing Garden and read a series of affirmations at each flower pot.
    • 32. This intervention can be completed as a group or self-directed.
  • 33. Walk Overview
    • Frames on the screens were painted to add color.
    • 34. More sunflowers on the poles.
  • 35. Walk Overview
  • 36. Concluding Remarks
    • The Healing Garden project began in April 2009 and continues to evolve.
    • 37. The garden is used on an ongoing basis for interventions.
    • 38. Painting with patients on a psychiatric unit has challenges, however – this project was very rewarding.
  • 39. Quotes From Participants
    • “No one has ever taken the time to teach me to paint before!”
    • 40. “I did not realize I had been sitting on the ground and painting for two hours, pain never entered my mind!”
    • 41. Focusing on the project helped me to forget about my withdrawal symptoms for awhile.”
    • 42. “I want to stay and see how it turns out.”
    • 43. “This was fun!”
  • 44. About the Artist
    • Chris Drosdick is an Art Therapy Counselor at a community hospital in Akron, Ohio.
    • 45. For further information about this project, contact [email_address] .
    • 46. Chris is also the author of the book Healing Pieces, a book of thirty art therapy interventions designed to increase engagement in group therapy sessions.
    • 47. Donations for future projects are being sought. Email for details.
  • 48. In Appreciation
    • Many thanks to the Women's Board of St. Thomas hospital for their generous donation of the furniture for the garden.
    • 49. Additionally, we would like to thank the St. Mary's Women's Guild for their generous grant to purchase the perennial flowers and the paint for the mural.
    • 50. Lastly, we would like to thank all of the participants for their efforts to complete the project.