News & Events


Ministry Highlight

This IHM Ministry Highlight features our Sister Dolores Dunn, Art Therapist.

Art Therapy is a non-verbal, non- threatening form of communication. Any spark of human spirit, no matter how small, has a right to be nurtured and developed. Each person investigates and explores this ability throughout life. The use of Art Therapy and the Creative Art Therapies assist a person's emotional release and personal adjustment. Creative Therapies help promote independence, flexibility of thinking, group dynamics and social interaction. Each person has a mental picture of himself which is different from the way others see him. This image depends upon one's occupation, sense of values and feelings of self-worth.

Expressing one's image is an important part of creativity and personal validation. It is only when the individual self is accepted that true self-expression can happen. The greater the individual's development, the greater the freedom of expression. When the creative process is cultivated, there will exist motivation and achievement.

Creative Art Therapy activities enable an individual to express his conscious and unconscious self spontaneously, to settle conflicts, to foster self-awareness and personal growth.

Sister Dolores believes that health professionals are called to be healers. "We are invited to live, share and be caring individuals. We can go forth with a message of unconditional love, forgiveness and individual validation."

She further notes, "As a response to a changing and materialistic culture of unrest and instant gratification, we can be strong anchors of faith that spread a healing peace. What more healing way than through the creative art therapies?"

At the Senior Medical Mental Health Unit at Moses Taylor Hospital, Sister Dolores and the health professionals who serve there engage each patient in the Creative Art Therapies on a daily basis. Art therapy, music therapy, exercise, cooking, spirituality groups, pet and child therapy, make up the unit milieu for the patients during their hospital stay.

It is said that persons in old age reflect on their life's journey and experience feelings of satisfaction and integrity or dissatisfaction and despair.

At the same time, symptoms of Alzheimer's/dementia, anxiety, mood and psychotic disorders many times can begin to emerge causing much distress. These issues are a definite barrier to verbal communication of feelings and personal needs.

Art therapy and creative therapies provide meaningful therapeutic opportunities for our patients to foster health, communication and self- expression, promote the integration of physical, emotional, cognitive and social functioning, enhance self-awareness and facilitate change.

When verbal barriers are present, we can communicate best through the creative art therapies!

The deep faith and courage of our patients are so very evident. As a registered Art Therapist and Certified Activity Therapist, Sister Dolores remarked that she feels privileged to "respectfully tread on the sacred space and to daily touch the hearts and souls of those she serves as they travel the final part of their life's journey."

Sister Dolores has served as a certified art and activity therapist at Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton, PA, since 1996.