Residents of Broadway House for Continuing Care often find it difficult to express their feelings about challenges in their lives. Many struggle in private to deal with illnesses, as well as physical abuse, homelessness, substance abuse, and other life-changing situations. The art therapy program at Broadway House provides them with a creative outlet to confront the past. Meet Rachel Jaslow, MA, ATR-BC, Title, at Broadway House
What are the benefits of art therapy?
“Art therapy helps residents express themselves in alternative ways. It empowers them. It’s my goal to help Broadway House residents improve the quality of their lives. Through art therapy, they start to realize the power they have within themselves to heal.”
Tell us a little about yourself.
“My father was an accomplished painter, so I grew up around art. His influence was so quiet and so loud at the same time. I received a scholarship to San Francisco Art Institute, then moved back east and went to Parsons School of Design in New York for a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts.
“My mother was a medical transcriptionist and recommended that I find a job in a hospital. In the pediatric emergency room at Hackensack University Medical Center, I saw art therapy used in pediatrics and decided to apply to New York University for a Master of Arts in Art Therapy.”
Who inspires your work?
“My father developed Parkinson’s Disease, but he was still able to paint. He died the day after he finished his last painting. There is a cyclical component of who I am and my dad influenced my creative process. Mind, body, spirit is how I live. My artistic philosophy is, ‘It’s the about the journey, not the destination.’”
Art therapy is integral to the Broadway House mission.
“Art lends itself to patient-centered care and fosters connections between people. My role is not only to facilitate the formality of making art. I help people see things in new ways. Seeing that the residents are each different in their physical capacity helps me to remember that they are different in their internal selves as well.
“We see isolation and depression in our client population. I have had to manage layers of resistance in residents, so a goal is always to create opportunities for people to contribute on their own terms. They take pride in the work they share, and it becomes part of the community and a representation of Broadway House.”
Tell us about the Forever Green Tree.
“The tree is placed in the lobby, which is a nondenominational, public space to benefit everyone and anyone who enters Broadway House. The colorful leaves each have a message on the back. Facing transitions is my specialty, so not every message on the tree is positive— but it just might be the message one has to receive. The tree has evolved into a giving tree of messages which symbolize growth, resiliency, and the need to refuel one’s spiritual self. The interactive component of this 3-D piece helps people to stop and reframe, stimulate their senses, and realize their presence here is an important part of Broadway House.”
Hear From Our Residents
Nicole B. on the Forever Green Tree: “The leaves on the tree near the chapel call me when I see them. When it’s full I take two, but sometimes I’ll just take one and leave the rest for other people. I encourage my boyfriend to take them, too. He types them in his phone and listens to the messages over and over. The leaves are inspiring. Every message I choose feels like it’s meant for me.”
If you live long enough,
You will realize,
FREEDOM comes from God.
So go get some God;
and get FREE!
Broadway House Resident