Developing a social prescribing service at Art in Healthcare based on an Occupational Therapy model Part 1

DATE POSTED: 27th of January 2016

Today I sat in a clinic room as an Occupational Therapist at Baronscourt Surgery seeing patients referred from the GP. Essentially I carried out OT Art Assessments with each patient, inviting them to get involved in a series of art workshops that aims to improve their wellbeing through, a) the social experience of a group, b) having the chance to express feelings and emotions through art as a means of non-verbal communication and c) opportunities to improve their self-confidence and learn new skills.

Image from one of Art in Healthcare's previous art workshops for VOCAL carers organisation

I set goals with the patients about what they each might gain from the experience, ranging from, 'To leave each workshop with a smile' to 'Embrace range of creative opportunities as a long-term hobby potential', ie a range of social and creative goals.
This feels a big step along the way for Art in Healthcare in terms of mainstreaming art and the therapeutic qualities it holds through embracing the social prescribing model. It is also a big step for myself as an Occupational Therapist in terms of unifying the value I hold of creativity with my passion for supporting and giving care to others.


Artwork created in one of Art in Healthcare's previous art workshops for VOCAL carers organisation

I'm really looking forward to hearing how the workshops go next month with artist Leo du Feu and to see what artworks the participants create for display at the surgery in the long term. Meanwhile, we are grateful to Baronscourt Surgery and particularly to Dr Thomson for enabling this opportunity.

Amelia Calvert writes as the Outreach Manager of Art in Healthcare and as an Occupational Therapist.

A full report on the project is available at: bit.ly/29PsIlz

Art in Healthcare is an Edinburgh-based charity whose mission is to enhance the health and wellbeing of everyone in Scotland through the visual arts.