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Lesley Intern Makes a Difference!

by / Monday, 01 April 2013 / Published in News/Blog

For several years, Springhouse has guided Master’s level student interns from Lesley University’s Expressive Therapies and Mental Health Counseling Program. This year we welcomed Erica Curcio who is in her first internship and second year of the Expressive Therapies program at Lesley where she studies Art Therapy. Two days a week Erica brings specialized expressive therapy groups to the residents of Springhouse and also meets with residents on an individual basis.

Though fine art is her main focus, Erica has experience working in a bakery as a cake decorator and brings a special form of “Bake Therapy” to Springhouse. Each Sunday morning she hosts “Erica’s Cupcakes, Cakes and Pies” group with our assisted living residents. They meet to roll out dough, mix up batter and decorate confections using the same techniques Erica learned in a professional bakery. A recent favorite creation of residents and staff alike were mini pies with chocolate and strawberry filling. Erica also co-leads our “Express Yourself!” group with another Lesley University intern. This group uses a variety of expressive therapy techniques including art, music, writing and storytelling to encourage the residents to express their feelings and promote a strong sense of community.

Once a week, Erica shares her expertise with our memory care residents in Allen House with an Open Studio art group. The idea of an Open Studio is to provide the residents with the materials they need for self directed art creation. Erica brings an array of materials and a few ideas to provide the residents the structure they need to freely express themselves in their creations. Many of Erica’s Open Studios involve sensory engagement by using food items in an artistic way. Using donuts, gum drops and pretzels, residents recently built the most delicious snowmen they’d ever seen! In addition to these art groups in Allen House, Erica a runs a morning movement group to help the residents get energized as they begin their day. In her individual work, Erica is helping a resident to create an altered book (the process of altering a book with individualized works of art). By drawing, painting, and even adding elements of nature to a book through collage, the resident transforms the book into a unique and meaningful work of art.