Art & Mental Health
« I realized that my resources can easily be activated through art «
« I just wanted to crawl into that picture and be there. It gave me new perspectives on what I need to move on with my life «
This was how two women experienced AsoY’s five step process. They were both attending a public psychology clinic in Copenhagen, because they had experienced stress, anxiety and depression for an extensive period of time and, as a consequence, had also lost contact to the job market.
Guided by the five steps these two women and ten other participants connected with their personal resources and inner motivation, which is crucial in order to recover.
In 2019 we are testing the AsoY app at the art gallery “KUNSTEN” in Aalborg as part of a public Arts & Health program and in 2020 we will also be doing it at Willumsen’s Museum.
The main focus is on how people who experience stress can benefit from using works of art to enhance mental health, a stronger sense of self and resilience by discovering personal resources that they can draw on in their current life situation.
The goal is to explore whether the AsoY app can be used as:
a user-friendly, cost-efficient, research- and practice-based tool to prevent and reduce long periods of sick leave by helping to establish and maintain new suitable mental strategies and, not least, prevent all too frequent relapses.
a supplement to other health programs and activities such as Mindfulness as well as other Arts & Health programs like art therapy and "art on prescription".
“There is a touch of Mindfulness over this app”, said the radio host, who reviewed AsoY on December 11th 2018 in “Kulturen” on National Radio (DR, P1).
Fundamentally speaking though, what AsoY does is unfold the inherent quality of works of art. Art is extremely efficient in getting us to stop, pause, sense and look inwards to notice and connect with our inner personal resources.
AsoY creates a so-called “suitable disturbance” that turns the user’s focus TOWARDS THEIR RESOURCES and AWAY FROM THEIR SYMPTOMS in a COMPLETELY INTUITIVE WAY that goes beyond the cognitive. Thus AsoY puts the well-known “Salut-Genesis theory” (1987) into practice. (For more information, see report on Danish Arts & Health program, p. 18)
How does the app work?
Users are guided step-by-step into a work of art that speaks to them - intuitively.
They don’t have to know ANYTHING about art. At all.
In the process they discover that the work of art they have chosen reflects sides of themselves and inner resources they can benefit from in their current life situation, but are not necessarily in contact with. Usually it’s resources that give them a stronger sense of self and self-esteem, sense of meaning, belonging, inner peace, courage, resilience, motivation and life quality.
Every personal insight is saved along with the work of art in the "MY INSIGHTS" function. The user is encouraged to check in there daily and re-connect with the resources and state of mind they experienced the first time around, and which they need and want to retain in order to reduce stress and prevent relapse. This is important as well as efficient: as soon as they see the work of art again, visual memory is activated and in less than 10 seconds they re-connect with the resources and the resourceful state of mind, which are anchored in the work of art in a way that goes beyond the cognitive.