Using colored construction paper, she guided Women’s Program participants in creating a variation on kente cloth, a vibrant, woven fabric with broad cultural significance that traces back centuries, originating in what is now Ghana, Africa.
This year, she’ll also be leading this form of art therapy—but virtually.
“It’s representative of coming together as one while teaching others about our differences—something especially important during a time when many people feel divided or discouraged,” says Pidich. “Kente cloth is often worn for celebrations, and I wanted to convey the idea of celebrating life and what makes us unique.”
In the past, Pidich provided construction paper in a variety of colors that participants could select from. The meditative and mindful process includes choosing colors, cutting strips of paper, arranging them in a pleasing order, and weaving them together to resemble woven fabric. Participants will work with materials they have at home this year, bringing in the concepts of adaptation and the release of perfectionism, and they will still be able to share their results on the screen.
Pidich, whose hobbies include sewing and quilting, notes that it can be motivating and validating to create art with other people, even virtually. The activity uses the DBT skills of mindfulness, self-soothing, building mastery, and interpersonal effectiveness. During a time when therapeutic hobbies are needed more than ever, it also reinforces how art can serve as an effective coping skill and a distraction from daily stressors.
“There’s beauty in this type of group therapy; everyone supports one another in a safe environment,” adds Pidich. “We see mini magical moments as participants express themselves, share their creations, and discuss the meaning behind them—and in the process, they build confidence and boost self-esteem.”
Article as seen in the Winter 2021 issue of Princeton House Behavioral Health Today.