Art, Drawing Task Processes, and Identity Awareness: A Case Study on the Retro-Genesis Phenomenon as an Indicator of the Progress of Dementia

Art, Drawing Task Processes, and Identity Awareness: A Case Study on the Retro-Genesis Phenomenon as an Indicator of the Progress of Dementia

Ana Belén Navarro (University of Salamanca, Spain), Unai Díaz-Orueta (Nesplora, Technology & Behavior, Spain), Lorena Martín-Niño (University of Salamanca, Spain) and Miguel Elías Sánchez-Sánchez (University of Salamanca, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8478-2.ch009
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Abstract

Non-pharmacological treatments for dementia include a variety of approaches, including art and drawing therapy, that aim to develop new connections between neural circuits through non-verbal memory systems. The current chapter presents a pilot study of an art therapy and reminiscence program in which drawings made by persons with dementia attending a day care center in Spain were compiled and analyzed to identify features that remain constant and those that evolve during progression of this dementia. For illustrative purposes, the chapter presents the case study of a 92-year-old woman who participated in all nine art therapy and reminiscence sessions conducted as part of this pilot study. Her drawings clearly illustrated the “retro-genesis” phenomenon. Modifications in the elements of her drawings are presented as an example of the degeneration in drawing processes that can be a marker for the evolution of cognitive decline. Despite the changes in this participant's drawings, her reminiscences reflected a retained sense of identity.

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