Power of Poetry

Guest blog post by: Denise Lima-Laskiewicz, ADC/EDU, ICRmT

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In the Assisted Living facilities and Long term care facilities there is a challenge to motivate residents to participate in activities and in their activities of daily living.  The individuals experience a variety of emotional setbacks such as isolation, depression and low self-esteem.  The reason that the person is regressed or may not respond is they think the other person wants the correct answer.  The individual feels intimidated and judged because they are not viewed as normal.  In today’s society, individuals who are ill are not viewed as healthy individuals.  The individual who have physical disabilities and severe mental illness withdraw further,  Activity professionals are always looking for new ideas to stimulate their clients and residents.

Remotivation therapy is one such modality that an Activity professional can use.  Remotivation therapy consists of five steps but it is in the second step that it provides a strong connection to start the program.  The second step is entitled “Bridge to the Real World” where there are questions that lead into the poem that will be the topic of the session.  The poem is related to the topic that will be discussed during the program.

The poem is important and/ or the program because of its precedence.  In the beginning when remotivation therapy was discovered by Dorothy Hoskins Smith, she found it benefited individuals who were highly regressed and withdrawn.  The poems  were able to motivate these individuals who were withdrawn.  Today the arts are known to motivate individuals to come out of their shell but when it was introduced at that time no one knew that.

Poetry is a critical element in the session because it helps to explore and establish the topic.  Also the poetry that is used in remotivation therapy is impersonal, non-threatening, and once removed. The poem serves as an objective, self-review.  The objective, positive poem is able to draw the individual out of their regressive state. The poem helps to remotivate these individuals while they listen or read the poem aloud.  The poem is simple in nature.

Normally a person will respond to a poem that is friendly and nice.  Especially if the poem is based upon every day events. The individual who is regressed will respond because it is a non-threatening poem.  After reading the poem questions can be asked related to the poem.  Questions are combined with poetry because the individual is not motivated to respond only to the poem. However, when a remotivation therapist asks question the individual is remotivated to respond. It’s beneficial to include props when introducing and discussing the poem. The props can be pictures, sounds and actual object about the topic at hand.

Poems are important in a remotivation session because it provides the opportunity for the individual to discuss topics that are objective in nature.  Poems are used to enhance the program because it is rhythmic and fun. This is the beginning where the clients and/or the residents are remotivated to interact with each other and his/her peers.

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