Fourth Age Support Group by Means of Arts during the Corona Pandemic

Fourth Age Support Group by Means of Arts during the Corona Pandemic

During the sharing stage, when each of the participants presents the work and shares its meaning, a dialog and verbal processing is made possible. This stage is significant, when the creations and figures resonate in each one, creating identifications. By means of reverberation the group becomes a meeting place of the personal worlds of the participants, their similarities and differences, commonalities as well as the uniqueness of each one. This reverberation provides them with a sense of belonging that allows them to feel the pain, the frustration, their hopes for themselves and their peers in the group and provides them a sense of visibility, which slightly eases the sense of isolation (Berman, 2015).

At some time when the situation of the Corona pandemic worsened in Israel and restrictions were placed on the possible number of participants, we suggested to return to ZOOM meetings and each one asked to continue with the sessions in person stating that “the loneliness is more dangerous than the Corona!”

Sometimes the artistic image created in the art product contains unconscious aspects and observing it after the creation with the developing discourse enables the creator to raise contents to the conscious and thereby broaden self-understanding as expressed by one of the participants: “each session I understand more about myself…” The group discourse allows additional processing and leads to revealing different perspectives and alternatives of adaptation while inspiring the other participants (Hazut, 2000).

The dominant themes that emerge throughout the sessions are immense loneliness, uncertainty and a sense of helplessness, concern for the political and health situation in the country, life-stories, memories of the past and more. These feelings, which are characteristics of this age group, have become even more intense in light of having to cope with the Corona pandemic.  It seems that the more the group becomes a safe place, intimate contents emerge such as: childhood memories, traumatic stories from the past, losses experienced throughout life, immigration to Israel, etc. These contents are given a place in the group and enjoy additional processing.

Throughout the sessions much meaning is given to the group process and the group cohesion where there is movement between the group and the individual and the individual and the group. After the individual creative activity the participants are invited to share in small groups and then in the whole group or alternatively work on a common substrate for the entire group and more. We see great importance in the contribution of the group and its sources to the participants in the fourth age. It seems that the safe framework that was created in the group (setting, careful and enveloping maintenance) constitutes a container in which the group grows and creates by means of the different arts which constitute a second container. The appropriate and dynamic combination of the two containers (the group and the arts) and the needs of the group participants (contents) allows them to put meaning into their experience in the “here and now” (Symington & Symington, 1996).


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About the Author

Daniella Bassis and Orna MegidesDaniella Bassis (PsyD), Expressive Arts Therapist and a Group Facilitator. Works with different groups and populations, in USA and in Israel, emphasizing on multimodal integration of the arts.Orna Megides (PsyD), Art Therapist, Psychotherapy and Group Facilitator. Teaches at the School of Art Therapy, Haifa University and the Department of Counseling and Human Development, Haifa University and owns a Private Clinic.

View all posts by Daniella Bassis and Orna Megides

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