Program Participant

Improving Mental Health Through Art

Barbara Thresher-Morrison, a participant in art therapy groups offered by CHD’s Psychiatric Day Treatment program in Springfield, said that the artistic activities she has been involved in at CHD have “helped change my life because they give me an outlet for all my negative emotions.”

She prefers creating abstract art to representational art because the jumble of colors allow her to be expressive without limitations. “It reminds me of how my brain is—just scattered everywhere, something messy, but beautiful,” she said with a laugh. “I love having my art displayed on the walls. When I see one, I’m like, “I did that!’ It makes me feel good.”

Many of her paintings were on display at the “Art Show on State” last August, when the Psychiatric Day Treatment program teamed up with our agency’s Adult Community and Clinical Services program for a day-long arts and crafts exhibit, complete with food trucks and live music at its offices on State Street in Springfield.

Thresher-Morrison’s abstract “drip art”

Thresher-Morrison also makes use of the other groups at the Psychiatric Day Treatment program, including Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Healthy Relationships, and Coping Skills, but she finds that making art is often a good way to work out the issues she finds difficult to verbalize.

Recently, however, her art therapy is actually helping her better express herself with words. In fact, she is taking her art a step further, exploring her emotions by modifying some of her paintings with written statements. “They look pretty cool,” she said. “I can’t wait for next year’s show. Learning more about myself makes me feel good about myself.”