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November 17, 2004
Art Helps Woman Cope With Schizophrenia
Read more... Complementary Schizophrenia Treatments
Tiffani Ross Parker, diagnosed with schizophrenia since high school, says that painting helps her to positively deal with her troubling symptoms and difficult life.
Ms. Parker's past has been as tumultuous as anyone's. Besides her schizophrenia diagnosis, she has struggled with drug addiction, a teenage pregnancy and abortion, poverty, and homelessness. However, she can proudly claim a free and sober history for the last four years. She credits part of this success to the assistance of the Brooklyn Bureau of Community Service's Transitional Living Community (located in New York), which helped her find a permanent apartment, enroll in high school equivalency classes, and put her in touch with creative arts therapist Rita Jendrzejewski.
Ms. Jedrzejewski says that art therapy "helps people to bring out what's inside that they may not be able to talk about." Ms. Parker agrees: "All that had been bottled up inside me, I would be able to put it on paper, and I would be able to express myself. I didn't smoke it up. I didn't use my body negatively. It was something that I created and that I could keep; that I like; that I loved. And it was really beautiful. It was something from my heart. It was like prayer."
The Transitional Living Community continues to support Ms. Parker's art as an important part of her therapy - it provides money for classes, material, and transportation to the Art Students League in Manhattan.
Research has also identified a possible role for creative and art therapy in the comprehensive treatment of schizophrenia. See the following research abstract:
1. Art Therapy for Schizophrenia or Schizophrenia-like Illnesses (2003). Available at http://www.pubmed.com.
Please note: although many people find supplemental therapies such as art helpful in alleviating their symptoms and/or general stress levels, they are NOT meant to be primary treatment options. Medication and ongoing care under a psychiatrist are the current standard of treatment for schizophrenia and other major psychiatric disorders, and have proven to be the best tools for controlling debilitating symptoms and managing the illness over the long run.
The following are organizations in New York that assist "the neediest cases" such as Ms. Parker:
BROOKLYN BUREAU OF COMMUNITY SERVICE
CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW YORK
CATHOLIC CHARITIES, DIOCESE OF BROOKLYN AND QUEENS
CHILDREN'S AID SOCIETY
COMMUNITY SERVICE SOCIETY OF NEW YORK
FEDERATION OF PROTESTANT WELFARE AGENCIES
UJA-FEDERATION OF NEW YORK
For the full article, see "When Art Helps to Deal With Harsh Realities" in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com), Nov 12 2004.
Posted by Julia at November 17, 2004 03:56 PM
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