Alzheimer disease

2014 Art Therapy workshops with Alzheimer disease patients at GERONDICAP, Domaine du Mérantais les Hameaux, Pôle medico-social, Saint Quentin en Yvelines, France.

Photos FBO

By 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."














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