Art Therapy for Older People: Working with Visual Memory


Course Description

Visual memory assists older people to share personal narratives about their lives. While short-term memory may be failing, longer term memory seeks expression. The use of photographs, photo collage, as well as paints, drawing materials and clay provide a variety of therapeutic gains for the elderly client. The concretisation of a therapeutic intervention assists recall from a visual starting point. The less verbal part of the brain is activated to deal with emotional expression that otherwise might not be addressed. The beneficial aspects of working with the elderly through art making processes have only recently become more known in Australia. This presentation includes ideas about activities that might be helpful, a review of recent literature and the sharing of other resources that can be utilised.


Participants will have the opportunity to:
• Understand facts to consider when working with the ageing client;
• Gain skills in processing therapeutic art making;
• Learn effective visual interventions for in their work with the elderly.




Annette Coulter is a Registered Art Psychotherapist, Director of the Centre for Art Psychotherapy and coordinator of the Adolescent and Family Counselling Service in the upper Blue Mountains. She completed post-graduate clinical art therapy and art education in the UK. Further training includes child and adolescent psychoanalytic psychotherapy, family therapy, group work and sandplay. She provides consultation, clinical supervision and customised training and helped pioneer art therapy in academic and clinical settings in UK, Australia and South-east Asia. She is a published author on art therapy with trauma, couples, children and adolescents.


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