A few months ago, the care center where I work decided to trial mneme therapy. Mneme therapy “uses everyday pleasurable experiences such as singing, movement, story-telling and painting in a unique combination to stimulate sustained attentive focus(SAF)” (Source). Since then, my care center has hired a mneme therapist to come once a month and see six different residents per month (a resident receives only one session).
The head of the therapeutic recreation department, of which I am a member, had taken to calling mneme therapy “art therapy.” Because I’d never heard of this kind of therapy, I looked into it a little and found that no, it was definitely not art therapy. The information I found on the therapy makes clear that it is not art therapy; they are not trying to pass off as such. I found the following passage here.
Is this art therapy?
No. Unlike art therapy, MT is not a psychological process and does not require state licensing. Instead it uses everyday pleasurable experiences such as singing, movement, story-telling and painting in a unique combination to stimulate sustained attentive focus(SAF). SAF has been scientifically proven to initiate neuroplasticity or the ability of the brain to remap pathways and move functions.
I tried to make clear to my department head that there is a distinction between the therapies. Quite a distinction — many years of education, for one. I take issue with miscalling an activity or experience a creative arts therapy because there is so much effort and time that goes into becoming a licensed music therapist, art therapist, drama therapist, etc.
Calling mneme therapy “art therapy” seemed to fade away, until Monday at our department’s weekly planning meeting at which one of our administrators spoke to us about the facility’s new “art therapy fund.” He went on to say that donors can designate their funds to go to our “new art therapy program,” and continued to use this description for the mneme therapy we have. He left very quickly, but I was able to bring up the distinction and my concerns at the meeting. My thinking is that if we are telling the public that we do, in fact, have art therapy, then we should, in fact, have art therapy. I have no problem with mneme therapy, so far as I know about it. I do take issue with calling something that it’s not.