info_outline First Fortnight Centre for Creative Therapies
The First Fortnight Centre for Creative therapies is a HSE and DRHE (Dublin Region Homeless Executive) funded project. The project provides an art psychotherapy service to adults with experiences of homelessness or at risk of homelessness. The service was set up in December 2012 as a Genio funded pilot project in mental health. We have had a fantastic opportunity to work with Crosscare which provides services to individuals affected by homelessness and our service has been accommodated within Crosscare’s Haven house. As an organisation we are particularly excited to have set up this pilot project as it signifies the growth of First Fortnight from not only a mental health arts festival but also to a fully-fledged mental health service provider.
info_outline Why art psychotherapy and homelessness?
The nature of art lends itself to being a powerful tool in expressing the complexities involved in mental health difficulties.
First Fortnight aims to create an open discussion and understanding of mental health problems and to challenge prejudice and discrimination through the arts. The Centre for Creative Therapies aims to harness the power of creativity and art in providing a professional, regulated art psychotherapy service. Our project is aimed specifically at adults in homeless services who endure a legacy of discrimination and stigma. Many people suffering from long-term and enduring mental health difficulties find it difficult to access a range of services which meet their needs among such services are the arts therapies.
Our service aims to thoroughly evaluate the outcomes of our project and to contribute to the evidence base for art psychotherapy as an innovative approach in mental health.
info_outline What is Art Psychotherapy?
Art Psychotherapy can be an effective way to express feelings which otherwise might not be communicated.
For some people in can be difficult to talk about their experiences and it may be helpful to use another way to express what is going on.
Through a trusting relationship with the therapist, the client can explore a complex range of thoughts and feelings in a safe environment.
By talking with the therapist and making artwork the client can begin to explore and to work through their experiences and emotional difficulties which may be impairing their way of life.
Our approach is sensitive to the different transitions clients coming to therapy may experience and the service aims to support clients through such transitions. Our work takes place within established therapeutic boundaries and a professional code of ethics.
Currently the service is open to individuals at risk of homelessness or using homeless services. Individuals or services can contact the centre directly to discuss a referral and request a referral form.
The Irish Association of Creative Arts Therapies (IACAT) is the professional accreditation body for creative arts therapies in Irelands. IACAT regulates music, dance movement, drama and art therapists. IACAT strives to ensure that creative arts therapists working in Ireland are accredited allied health professionals that have completed the appropriate training in their modality, usually at Masters level.
IACAT ensure members adhere to a code of professional conduct and ethics IACAT also monitors professional standards, promotes research and represents its members.
Both therapists working with the Centre for Creative Therapies are registered with and active members of IACAT.
For more information see www.iacat.ie
info_outline Art therapy: Reframing homeless mental health
In January 2016 First Fortnight published an evaluation report highlighting the positive impact of art therapy in lives of a number of individuals accessing Dublin’s homeless services
The evaluation report is the result of an external evaluation of the work of The First Fortnight Centre for Creative Therapies. The launch took place in St. Laurences Chapel, DIT campus, Grangegorman and was part of the First Fortnight festival. Anne O’Connor, HSE national director of mental health launched the evaluation which was carried out by Anne Eustace psychologist with Eustace Patterson. Anne O’Connor highlighted the importance of innovative approaches to mental health and represented the HSE’s continued support of the project.
The report examined the innovative use of art therapy in engaging individuals with experiences of homelessness and mental health difficulties. Some of the positive impacts noted in the report include engagement, positive shifts in self-awareness, stability and self-confidence. Art therapy is one of the psychological therapies which can help individuals explore their experiences through making art in the context of a therapeutic relationship with a trained art psychotherapist. Art therapy can help mediate engagement for some that may find it difficult to talk about their experiences.
Also present to launch the report included Dr. Peter Cockersell whose work with St. Mungo’s London has had a significant influence on homeless services both in the UK. In developing the service First Fortnight drew on Dr. Cockersell’s ideas on utilising psychotherapeutic concepts in homeless services. Including, primarily his development of psychotherapy services as interventions in homelessness and the concepts of psychologically informed environments (PIES).
Dr. Joanne Fenton consultant psychiatrist with the homeless mental health Acces team, also welcomed the launch of the evaluation report and art therapy as a significant intervention in homeless mental health. Dr. Fenton spoke first hand of the client’s engagement with art therapy and the value of the input from the art psychotherapists on the project. The report also offers a glimpse, in the clients own words, of the changes they noticed and attributed to the art therapy. Eithne McAdam and Louise Quinn, art therapists on the project, thanked Anne Eustace for her comprehensive yet sensitive approach to the work.
The service continues to be supported by Crosscare and is located within Crosscare’s Haven house.
The service currently offers one to one art therapy on site in Haven house. The First Fortnight Centre for Creative Therapies accepts referrals from all homeless services across the Dublin region from clients with varying support needs.
info_outline Music Therapy
The ability to appreciate and respond to music is an inborn ability that remains unimpaired by disability, injury or illness. Many people have a strong link to music, whether it be through musical memories or associations. Music therapy aims to harness this link to facilitate change for people experiencing difficulties. At the core of music therapy intervention is the therapeutic relationship that develops between the therapist and client, providing a safe environment for people to open up and express themselves.
Music is an effective way of communicating, and can provide an appropriate space for exploring and expressing feelings, emotions and thoughts, some of which may be difficult to put into words. Music therapy provides error-free opportunities for service-users to engage in goal-directed activities and to work through difficulties they may be experiencing. No prior musical skills or knowledge is necessary to engage in music therapy. Communication, social interaction, emotional expression and skills such as memory and attention are common areas that we work on in music therapy.
A range of musical techniques are used during music therapy sessions, including improvisation, song-writing, listening and lyric-analysis, each specifically chosen with the client, to facilitate a particular goal.
info_outline Creative Therapy Brochure
info_outline Creative Therapy Referral Form