Over the past year, KleinLife’s senior participants have had the opportunity to express themselves through virtual art therapy. Most projects have been individually therapeutic, but facilitator Mariya Keselman-Mekler, MA, ATR-BC, LPC had a different approach to its latest assignment.
Keselman-Mekler instructs two separate art therapy classes based on language; one in English and one in Russian. She took the rare opportunity to unite them in creating a puzzle together. Each participant designed 1-2 puzzle pieces to showcase their wishes for the world and humanity. “This year of isolation started with the pandemic,” mentioned Keselman-Mekler, “but it continued with a lot of worldly news that caused more trauma to these seniors. (The seniors and I) discussed how we have been using this virtual mode of communication and had to find creative ways of ‘coming together through art’ – the puzzle pieces are a metaphor for that.”
Some of the words and phrases in the puzzle mention “peace,” “good health,” “harmony,” “peace on Earth for all,” and “like all things, it, too, shall pass.” The 36 participants were able to internalize these words while helping to share their sentiments with others.
"It makes me smile every time I look at it," said Wendy, a participant in the project, "...it is amazing how timely and appropriate it is, maybe now even more than when we sent it in."
As CDC, state, and city guidelines are being altered and lifted, it is only a matter of time before the classes can share their connection in person and KleinLife looks forward to the opportunity.