info_outline First Fortnight Centre for Creative Therapies
The First Fortnight Centre for Creative therapies is a HSE funded service provision funded through the National Office of Suicide Prevention (NOSP). We provide music and art psychotherapy 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.
We are proud to have set this pilot up and to watch the therapy service growing from strength to strength year on year, we envisage its expansion to provide creative therapies to children and families in the near future.
info_outline Why Creative Therapies and Homelessness?
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 creative arts therapies.
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 creative therapy service.
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, it 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.
info_outline What is 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 is often reported to elicit ‘chills’ or shivers down the spine. From a neural perspective, this represents stimulation of brain regions associated with pleasure/reward or motivation, emotion and arousal. Described as a ‘hotline to emotion,’ music, with the guidance of a trained therapist, has the capacity to create opportunities to explore these emotions (Magee, 2017).
Music therapy is an evidence-based profession where the planned and creative use of music-based interventions by an accredited music therapist supports people of all ages to improve, restore or maintain health, functioning and well-being. It seeks to support people with their psychological, emotional, cognitive, physical, communicative and social needs. Brain scans clearly demonstrate that brain activity in response to music is not restricted to any one brain region, but rather activates many regions including those associated with memory, attention, emotional regulation and movement (Thaut & Hoemberg, 2014).
Engaging in listening and playing music is associated with increased dopamine levels. Dopamine has several important functions. It is a chemical messenger that is involved in pleasure, reward, motivation, attention and even body movement. If dopamine levels are low, we will often experience reduced motivation and enthusiasm, but we can naturally boost our dopamine levels by simply listening to familiar and preferred music (Stegemöller, 2014; Sena-Moore, 2013).
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 people 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. 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.
The Brain and Music: YouTube Clip
The following clip demonstrates the diffuse activation of brain regions when simply listening to music. Through harnessing this activation, we can easily target a multitude of goal areas in music therapy including cognitive and emotional related goals. There is a large and growing body of research in neuroscience that demonstrates the efficacy of music listening and music making to achieve functional outcomes.
info_outline Creative Therapy Referrals
Currently, the service is open to adults at risk of homelessness or using homeless services. Individuals or services can contact the centre directly on 0867777222 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss a referral. The referral form and consent forms are downloadable below.
Please note all forms must be posted to the below address. Emailed forms can't be accepted.
First Fortnight Centre for Creative Therapies,
Morning Star Ave,
Dublin 7.View Download
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 Creative Therapy Brochure
info_outline Creative Therapy Referral Form