FaceMasks – The New Dress Code

“Hi, I’m Shiral Yellin Zoe, art therapist at the psychology unit of Reuth Rehabilitation Hospital. The Coronavirus pandemic forced us all to wear masks in public.

The new “dress code” brought about creative designs which allowed each one of us to stand out despite not using facial expressions.  

But let us not forget that masks are not just against the Coronavirus. Here at the hospital, it serves as a therapeutic tool.

The mask gives the patient a creative space in which he chooses what to hide and what to reveal and expose his identity and feelings.

The creative process allows him to look inward, while maintaining the protections he needs.

In the therapeutic space, the patient can remove some of the masks he wears every day, in a protected and non-threatening environment.

In the therapeutic session, we use a combination of psychological theories and therapeutic techniques, alongside materials and processes from the creative world.

Our goal is to give the patient a non-verbal expression tool, thus opening a window to the mind of patients in a welcoming and non-threatening way.

The language of creation also provides alternative means of communication for patients with functional impairment or verbal language delay.

The mask has two sides and in the rehabilitation treatment we allow the patient to choose whether to create both or one of them.

For example, in one of the masks, a patient on the outside presented the optimistic feelings he shares with his environment, while the inner side looked half-way between hope and pain.

This patient actually painted a cracked wall that symbolized the emotional breakdown following the recent traumatic event he experienced.”

The mask, as a therapeutic tool, is just one of countless tools that the art therapist uses to enter to the patient’s inner world and help him cope with the daily difficulties and challenges involved in the rehabilitation process. The masks and art therapy in general provides an emotional therapy to people who otherwise would not open up to therapy.