THE PORTRAIT AS THERAPY
Discovering Portrait Therapy was a very important step in my professional path.
This project was in collaboration with Nataliya Nagornova, who is a psychologist with an artistic college background.
Being a student of G.M. Nazloyan, the founder of the Mask Therapy Centre in Samara Nataliya ultimately developed her own method for working with the elderly who suffer Alzheimer’s and other conditions that may arise in old age.
As a painter with art therapy experience, I was fascinated with this method. I was invited to conduct an art activity in a residential facility for the elderly in Padua just as I began to study this therapeutic intervention. I contacted Nataliya and asked for her approval and her supervision. When she enthusiastically agreed, I proposed to demonstrate Portrait Therapy in the home. I started to visit this unit every Monday morning and made portraits of residents who were interested (almost all were).
The silent dialogue of mutual observation, showing the portrait at different stages and making remarks created a dialogue: disapproving, pointing out defects, or giving suggestions is all part of the therapeutic process.