Learning the art of mental flexibility can be an extremely important skill for approaching low self-esteem. Using creative prompts and art therapy, we can help participants find healthier ways to cope with their feelings during stressful times. Being “flexible” in the mental sense can be defined as undergoing less distress during stressful events. An example of this is studied in: On importance of new group therapy for decrease of agitation during the critical period of nursing shift changes on an acute psychiatric inpatient floor.
The Journal of Hospital Administration published this article in May 2020. The purpose of this study was to observe how group therapy can help patients in inpatient care with stressful times (such as nurse shift changes). Specifically, the study’s authors wanted to see how art based group therapy could help patients. This study was observational and was taken from the psychiatric unit in Central New York.
The researcher’s purpose of this studying was to try to find something to help calm down patients during stressful times. The researchers found that patients had “increased agitation” during nurse shift changes. In an effort to solve this issue, researchers decided to introduce art-based therapy that focuses on activities that build mental flexibility.
By using creative prompts and critical thinking exercises, researchers hoped to show decreased agitation and better use of coping skills during these stressful times. The art therapy group in this study was called ’Neurons Away’. This experiment was set up so researchers were able to study the five hour period surrounding these art therapy initiatives. They would then track several factors such as attendance, agitation levels, medicine usage for anxiety, and a scale to track emotions (Likert-type scale). The purpose of this study was to find out if patients can develop healthier coping skills while improving their mental flexibility during these distressing situations.
After three months the need for “agitation medication” decreased by seven times and the medicine used for anxiety decrease by four times. The group was seen to create a “playful” environment which helped patients to navigate and better adapt to the “chaotic” environment during shift changes. Overall, patients were seen to be happier during the surrounding hours of shift changes. While on the other hand, negative emotions such as sadness and anger were shown to decrease as a result of the art-based group implementation.
This period of observation shows that there are other ways to approach stressful times for patients receiving psychiatric care. This should be something that is considered more often as it is much safer than some of the side effects of common drugs. The authors of this study suggest that this study can be explored even further with other settings and other forms of treatment. They suggest that not only exploring the effects of “Neurons Away” through further experiments, that there should be further exploration of other creative art-based treatments. Looking at these issues (especially in psychiatric units) can help healthcare professionals find better ways to help patients succeed in treatment.
* Leontieva, L., Safadi, S., & Roe, C. (2020, May 11). On importance of new group therapy for decrease of agitation during the critical period of nursing shift changes on an acute psychiatric inpatient floor | Leontieva | Journal of Hospital Administration. http://www.sciedupress.com/journal/index.php/jha/article/view/17708