Louisville Art Therapy programs gives confidence to people with epiliepsy

Studio E: The Art Therapy Program is being offered for the second time for people with epilepsy in Kentucky and southern Indiana. Offered by Epilepsy Foundation affiliates across the country, Studio E empowers people with epilepsy to creatively express feelings related to epilepsy and connect with one another in a safe environment. As a result, the program yields beautiful and meaningful works of art that educate both others with epilepsy and the general public.

“Studio E has made a positive impact in the lives of many people with epilepsy and has provided a new way for them to express their feelings,” said Beth Blakeley, M.S., Director of Education of the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana. “Art therapy has been shown to help people with epilepsy convey their emotions and experiences with epilepsy and, as a result, increase confidence and self-awareness. We are so pleased to be able to offer Studio E to people with epilepsy in Kentucky and southern Indiana.”

The Studio E program will take place at the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana office (Kosair Charities Centre, 982 Eastern Parkway, Louisville, Kentucky 40217) from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. every Saturday from June 29 through August 3, 2013. Each session will be led by licensed art therapist Angela Lechleiter, M.Ed., L.P.C.A. Registration is required. To learn more about the program, visit www.efky.org and to register call Beth Blakeley, M.S., Director of Education at 502.637.4440 / 866.275.1078 x14.

This is the second year for the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana to offer this program and participants from last year’s program had some great things to say. One participant stated, “It was an excellent reason for me to get out of the house and

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get to meet people who actually understand what I am going through! I loved being able to express my creative side.” Another said, “I had a mind-opening, spirit-filling time with this opportunity. Therapists were thorough, patient, kind, and encouraging. What a chance!” Art created by two participants was even showcased at the American Epilepsy Society’s annual meeting in San Diego, California last December.

Program participants, art therapists, Epilepsy Foundation representatives, and others have reported positive outcomes from the 2011 and 2012 programs from across the nation. These accounts indicate the program has helped people with epilepsy express difficult feelings, become more comfortable engaging with others, and build confidence. To better validate these outcomes, plans are underway to use the Studio E program as a platform to conduct research that may provide us with a more rigorous understanding of the benefits of art therapy.

“The Studio E program cultivates an accepting, non-threatening atmosphere where participants are empowered to take risks both verbally as well as visually,” said Phil Gatone, president and CEO of the national Epilepsy Foundation. “Honest conversations took place between participants through the course of the sessions, and by the end of the program, participants were more willing to articulate fears due to having epilepsy and the impact epilepsy has had on their daily lives.”

Studio E is made possible through a partnership between the Epilepsy Foundation and Lundbeck, a pharmaceutical company committed to people impacted by epilepsy. The program was piloted in 2011 in four cities and expanded to more than 20 cities across the country in 2012. Participants with seizure disorders of varying severities entered the program led by licensed art therapists. “At Lundbeck, we understand that living with epilepsy can be challenging and can sometimes feel isolating,” said Daniel Brennan, vice president of neurology at Lundbeck. “We’re proud to partner with the Epilepsy Foundation to give Studio E participants the chance to experience the opportunity to express emotions and connect with others in their community.”

With individual artist’s permission, works of art will be available for viewing at local and national venues later in the year. These showcases are intended to raise awareness and understanding of epilepsy.


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