A few months ago I had the pleasure of attending a presentation given by Anne Curtis, MA, RDT, CTSS (Drama Therapist) and Anissa Mitchell, LCSW (Social Worker). They have a very creative approach to their Parkinsons Disease Support Group at the Florida Hospital. Their Drama Therapy based intervention was featured recently at the North American Drama Therapy Association's Conference and the World Parkinsons Congress.
They incorporate drama, fun, creativity, music, singing and movement in each session they have. So, instead of focusing on the disease and the problems that the patients and caregivers have, they tend to focus on removing the conventional approach to the support group, and replace it with so much alternative activity, that the participants forget they have Parkinsons, and their caregivers forget about being caregivers. They just have fun. Would this approach work for all types of support groups? Absolutely! Their example is with Parkinsons Patients, but the approach would work for other support groups, as well.
Their information is outlined below:
CHEER>UP stands for: Creativity, Humor, Education, Encouragement, Resilience and a Greater Understanding of Parkinson’s. Led by Drama Therapist, Anne Curtis, RDT and Parkinson’s social worker, Anissa Mitchell, LCSW, CHEER>UP is a drama-therapy intervention to improve the quality of life for Parkinson’s patients and caregivers.
CHEER>UP implements the therapeutic model, TraumaDrama, that harnesses metaphor, drama and humor to address Parkinson’s issues related to mind, body and spirit.
CHEER>UP sessions target specific “living well with Parkinson’s” objectives using drama activities including breathing exercises, vocal practice, movement, pantomime, dance, singing, improvisational comedy and more.
CHEER>UP uses Creative Drama and Arts techniques to address disease-specific physical & psycho social issues by:
- Improving the voice
- Developing good posture and balance
- Practicing stress reduction techniques
- Enhancing communication skills-verbal/nonverbal
- Stimulating the brain to improve cognitive function
- Harnessing the healing power of laughter to enhance mood
- Rehearsing techniques to change emotions and manage depression
- Providing ways to express difficult emotions
- Building resilience skills
- Sharing creativity to connect socially & diminish isolation
- And much more!
For further information about this program, contact Anissa Mitchell, LCSW at the Florida Hospital Parkinson Outreach Center, 407-303-5295.