Patients at the Chris Kyle Patriots Hospital are using plaster, water, and trust to create molds that capture their cheek bones, lip curvature, and chin shape. However, catching the feelings behind those masks require patients to be mindful and vulnerable, which is difficult when there is comfort and safety in hiding their personal perception of who they are on the inside. Also, for many patients trusting others is not easy as a result of traumatic experiences. Mask making presents patients with an opportunity to allow themselves to trust peers who cover their face with plaster while laying down and closing their eyes.
Once the plaster dries, patients add two large layers of plaster to cover up all the small, individual pieces that make up their face. Next, sandpaper is used to smooth out the rough plaster which leaves a smooth, blank canvas for patients to work with.
This art therapy helps our patients process in layers. The first layer is being able to trust others and stepping toward unveiling their hidden self. The second layer is the start of self-reflection and identifying the small layers of feelings they have inside. The additional two layers of plaster and sanding are necessary prep work for expression. Lastly, with the use of paints, markers, yarn, and other materials, patients are able to illustrate their hidden self.