Art Therapy workshops with Alzheimer disease patients at GERONDICAP,
Domaine du Mérantais les Hameaux, Pôle medico-social,
Saint Quentin en Yvelines, France.
Fatema Binet Ouakka, painter, member of the CNFAP
"Beyond the ethical issues (to accept the choice of the
sick person, to take account of the limits of each one, to defend
the integrity of the identity of each individual), my first
goal was to define as soon as possible the anguish of the present
individuals, and the possible resistance in order to establish
a relationship of trust able to put their mind at ease for taking
time to chat and to feed the exchanges.
Those workshops enable another form of expression than speech.
'Talking' with shapes and colors is another way
to talk to oneself, but also to the others. This is to say what
you never said, and, in that case, to leave on a trip in memories
and to explore one's own unconscious. Work on memories
can take very specific forms as recognition of vegetables through
the taste and the smell. The arrangement of these forms and
of these colors on the canvas allows everyone to enter in one's
own territory, and to slide from one plan to another one.
Two weeks after, the vegetables are dried, and, on the canvas,
colors are associated with vegetables, either by resemblance
or counterpoint. The present confusion during the first session
disappears: a patient who ate paint, confusing it with the vegetable,
now makes the difference between the two materials. A special
interest is to be born in the group because of the presence
of objects or characters appeared on the canvas during the workshop,
that recalls memories, sometimes projects.
Suddenly, the urge of singing together arises before leaving
place for doubt: were those characters on the canvas previously
known people? The tension is at its height and a lady, very
upset because of what her brush is producing, falls unconscious
on the table, no longer able to contain the emotions overcoming
her. Was something strong and happy suddenly remembered???
The conniving smile she made to share with others when she straightens
her head seems to mean that. Is emerging from this serial of
workshops a real increase of vigilance in time T, sometimes
able to continue making clearer the meaning to be given to the
work carried out."