The Art Therapy Institute of the Redwoods

Located approximately 2 hours north of San Francisco in a tranquil setting, The Art Therapy Institute of the Redwoods has been offering workshops and courses for art therapy professionals as well as other health care and service provider professionals since 1992. Our workshops are limited to ten participants in order to provide ample opportunities for interaction. While most programs are held in Redwood Valley, a few are held at other venues.

On these pages you will find not only course offerings and schedules, but useful resources and articles.

We encourage you to explore our pages and contact us with questions or suggestions.


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Hand Casting Experience

by Linda Chapman, MA, ATR-BC

Hand Casting Experience

Hand casting is a safe and non-threatening way to introduce casting and/or future mask-making.
I begin by discussing the media (Vaseline, casting plaster strips, and water) and the possible reactions to the experience such as reminders of injuries that were casted, the smell of the media, the feeling of having tight plaster on their forearm and hand, and the temperature change from cool to warm that occurs. We also discuss that they may need help or want me to place the material on their skin, and talk about that contact and the accepting help, and being vulnerable.

I then offer a shallow bowl with water, plaster casting strips from 1”-3” widths, and Vaseline. They cover their entire hand and forearm with Vaseline for easy removal of the cast, even though they will only cast the top half of their forearm. Then strips of plaster casting are dipped in the bowl and placed on the skin until there are approximately 4-5 layers of casting covering from midway on the forearm down to the hand and fingers. After several minutes, during which time we talk about the sensations, feelings, or thoughts that may have arisen, the plaster casting is gently rocked until it lifts off the skin. I then have them wash their hands and arm, and apply lotion if desired.

The child or teen is often surprised at the size or shape of their hand or arm. They are free to paint or decorate the casting, but many prefer to leave it as a casted sculpture. The ensuing dialogue is very diverse, from discussing the sensory aspects of the experience to feelings of being regressed, restricted, or vulnerable.

© Copyright 2009-2015 Linda Chapman.

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