Art therapy for the palliative care clinician

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I had wanted to learn to paint for many years, and finally found the time to take some classes during my research fellowship year. It was really good fun and I loved it. Unfortunately, my fellowship year soon finished and clinical commitments meant I could no longer attend the classes.

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Nevertheless, I decided that I would keep painting, once a week (usually on a Wednesday), just for me. At the end of a busy day, it’s often easier to just slump on the couch and watch some TV. I’ll be honest, sometimes the couch wins. However, I do manage to drag myself out of the house again most Wednesdays, get myself down to the studio for a couple of ours of what I fancifully call my ‘art therapy’ before bed. And when I do, I never regret it.

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As you can see, I’m just a beginner and still have a lot to learn about painting. But I love losing myself in the work, just thinking about form and colour – anything other than patients and families and suffering and medicine, or audits or guidelines or research or presentations. I also love heading out and painting outdoors when I can get away.

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If you also like painting, or any other form of art – please join us for #PallANZ tweet chat on the 29th, which will be on the topic of “palliative care and the arts”! You can find the details here.

#pallanz tweetchat 29/9: Palliative care and the arts **N.B. This chat will be at 10pm NZT due to daylight savings**

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For as long as our culture has being making art death, dying, and exploring the meaning of our fragile mortal lives have been key themes.  Historically the arts have framed our practices around preparing for dying, celebrating lives, and pondered the traverse into the unknown.  Artists of antiquity often used their media to describe the care for the dying and the dead, reflecting a palliative focus of the arts which continues to this day.

 

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Is the health system designed to crush the creativity and spirit of health professionals?

Do you ever feel like health professional education and the health system are designed to take talented, intelligent, creative individuals and turn them into machines with no ability to innovate? Do you find yourself banging your head against a wall when even the smallest change for improvement requires hours of paperwork (that you probably submitted via fax), approval by numerous committees and months of waiting? Do you feel trapped in a health care silo? Do you feel ridiculous attending “multidisciplinary” meetings when the multiple disciplines are merely different specialties within your own profession?

If the answer to any of these questions is “Yes”, please keep reading. Continue reading

Elsewhere in the Palliverse…weekend reads

Reads for your weekend from across the Palliverse…

How to determine the order of authorship in an academic paper (@paulisci)

Presenting your research findings at a meeting? Here are some useful tips to improve your delivery (Lifehacker)

As I walk through hospital corridors, I’m always grateful for the beautiful artworks displayed. However, I don’t often stop to consider the themes portrayed. Art columnist Jonathon Jones asks, Should hospital art be jolly – or should it portray the truth about pain? (The Guardian). Meanwhile, More hospitals use the healing power of art (Wall Street Journal). What are your thoughts? Continue reading