Art Therapy and Occupational Therapy: Cotreating in Cases of Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury can result in many challenges: physical, cognitive, psychological, behavioral, and communicative. In order to look at how that can manifest, MPS Art Therapy students in the Clinical Topics in Trauma class were asked to draw a clock face showing the time 8:20. Drawing a clock face is used to assess someone’s cognition because there are quite a few aspects that go into the formation of a clock face. For example, spatial awareness, motor skills, and attention. A clock face drawn by a person with a traumatic brain injury might have the numbers clustered together, the hands showing a different time, the order of the numbers inaccurate, etc.

An occupational therapist came into the class to discuss cotreating with art therapy and using prosthetic adaptations. Occupational therapy aims to help people rehabilitate their injuries as close to their previous abilities as possible. Cotreating with art therapy tends to help patients improve quicker, rather than two therapies not working together.

Later, students were shown a variety of prosthetics, which they were able to examine and try on. They were encouraged to wear them and draw with them on to get an idea for what it might be like to have to wear a brace in order for one’s hand to function as it did before injury.

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