An important part of the Centre for the Arts in Human Development's mandate involves the provision of therapeutic services. The Centre offers creative arts therapies – art therapy, drama therapy, music therapy and dance/movement therapy – to persons with disabilities. Therapy is provided by both professionals and graduate student interns from the Department of Creative Arts Therapies. In addition to the Centre's main program, many special programs have also been offered such as the Fels Sunday Arts and Friendship Program for past Centre participants.
What we offer
Arts therapy sessions
The CAHD provides group therapy in four creative arts therapies modalities – art therapy, drama therapy, music therapy, and dance/movement therapy – to participant cohorts.
In an effort to continue the connection to the Centre for the Arts in Human Development, and to maintain and enhance the friendship-building skills of participants, the Centre offers this program to individuals who have completed the three-year program. This ongoing program, started with a generous donation by the Fels family in 2004, uses the arts and other activities to address the socialization needs of our participant alumni.
Art therapy involves a variety of art-making experiences to help improve a participants’ self-expression, self-esteem, communication, and social skills. Sessions are structured to support autonomous participation and authentic expression and are facilitated by Art Therapy Master’s level interns. Under both academic and on-site supervision, art therapy interns create meaningful goals for each participant, and develop effective art-based experiences to related to those goals. Development of basic art skills is also supported to enhance expressive abilities and to expand the use of symbols in artwork, so that feelings, fantasies, and wishes can be shared through the artwork, verbally, or both. Sand play therapy may be incorporated as another means of helping participants express their inner feelings and thoughts. Art therapy is offered in both individual and small group formats.
The aim of drama therapy is to enhance each participant’s capacity for social integration. Drama therapy sessions help participants improve in all spheres of functioning related to self-expression, communication, emotional regulation and personal relationships. Within the safe context of a drama therapy session participants have opportunities to practice social skills by acting out real-life situations. Other drama therapy interventions including: dramatic play, improvisational role-playing, guided imagery, story-telling, projective techniques with puppets and masks, and psychodramatic methods. Sessions are facilitated by Drama Therapy Master’s level interns, who receive both academic and on-site supervision by registered drama therapists. Drama therapy is offered in both individual and group formats.
Music Therapy uses music as the primary tool in promoting therapeutic change, growth, and development in people on psychological, physical, and spiritual levels, within the context of the client-therapist relationship. At the Centre, the enhancement of self-esteem and social skills are the primary goals of group work. Group musical improvisation is the primary form of expression in the groups, in which clients choose their musical instrument, and express their own rhythms, melodies and songs. Each participants’ unique style of musical expression gives the music therapist valuable information about each person, and can used to help participants achieve both individual and group goals. An accredited music therapist conducts the Centre's music therapy groups, and is assisted by graduate student interns. Individual music therapy may be offered by graduate student interns in Music Therapy.
Dance/Movement Therapy is the therapeutic use of movement in a process that promotes the integration of body, mind and spirit. The primary goals of dance/movement therapy groups at the Centre are to experience pleasure in physical expression; to interact with others with increased confidence and articulation; and to acquire skills that can support daily living. This includes developing clarity in body boundaries and improving the ability to modulate the movement and energy needed when adapting to day-to-day situations. Dance/Movement Therapy encourages participants to expand their movement repertoire and to expand possibilities for personal expression. Sessions are led by a professional dance/movement therapist and are assisted by graduate student interns.
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