Encompass Health is helping stroke patients to heal their bodies and minds with a brand new art therapy program. Every day, class participants paint bright turquoises, opulent greens, rich reds, and other colors onto blank canvases as part of their occupational therapy program.
The facility is formerly known as Healthsouth Rehabilitation Hospital and launched a few months ago in Texarkana, Texas. Occupational Therapy Assistant Audrey Seib partnered with the center's lead Occupational Therapist Ruth Jeffries to start the program. The pair believed the program would be cathartic for patients and hired art teacher Georgia Hubnik to work with therapy patients. "It's great that we could all pull together to bring Georgia in to help with the patients," Seib explained in an interview.
How Art Therapy Helps Rehabilitation Patients
The therapists say the program is not only a cathartic way for patients to release their emotions, but it is helping them master important tasks. Seib and Hubnik combine the art classes with traditional occupational therapy methods. Creating art forces individuals to use their both sides of their brain. Occupational therapists also use weights to help build patients muscle strength.
These art therapy courses can be a rewarding exercise for patients. Holding their painting tools can improve patient's motor skills, in turn helping to improve basic tasks they handle in their everyday lives. These skills include holding toothbrushes, opening cabinet doors, and dressing.
Hubnik is a Texarkana teacher with more than 17 years of professional art experience. The educator has worked with students with disabilities in the past and she enjoys working with her students and accepts them at all ability levels. Their physical or emotional limitations does not bother her. She loves seeing the joy on her students' face. "It's wonderful to be able to give them a voice and some control back over their lives," Hubnik said.
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