Therapy Using Origami

Therapy Using Origami

Origami has proven to be a beneficial therapy tool for both physical and mental or emotional patients.  

Origami has been used as a bridging therapy, an icebreaker, and a relaxation technique before other therapy sessions.  The folding process provides a great work out for exercising the hands and fingers and the mind.

Origami is definitely convenient, it can be practiced anywhere anytime, indoors or out, without the need for a lot of specialized equipment.  The only requirement is that you have a paper of any sort, origami paper, plain paper, newspaper, gift-wrapping paper; even sheets from an old calendar will work.  It has also proven to be a wonderful form of non-verbal communication.  You don't need specialized skills.

Origami works wonders with patients who have emotional and mental problems, with its eye-catching colors, shapes and papers.  It's not the kind of activity that is restrictive or threatening.  This can be really important if you are dealing with patients with emotional and mental problems.  It's easy to learn and safe.  There are no scissors or other cutting tools necessary, a good thing if you are working with people who are unpredictable or aggressive or who have shown to have self-harming tendencies.  It's also very affordable and a good way to recycle paper. 

Origami gives patients a number of choices including color, pattern, and the ability to design a great number of different figures ranging from the very simple to the extremely complex.  It gives the patients the option to act as observers or participants, to practice alone or in a group.  Origami provides much needed psychological support; the participant gets a feeling of acceptance because the instructor can take the time to demonstrate each move and he feels connected when he realizes that he is part of a group.  He also sees that the origami staff is very approachable and he can ask that they stop and provide some personal assistance at any time. 

One of the more positive aspects of origami is the number of desirable behaviors it promotes.  Positive social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, problem-solving ability, goal setting, patience, creativity, interest, and involvement in a hobby, while t the same time providing fun and relaxation.  The positive reinforcement and feedback develop the ability and desire in the patients to share their feelings as well as knowledge. 

Therapists will find when they observe groups doing origami that the patients are opening up more, asking questions, providing comments of his own, requesting a chance to make other figures, really participating.  The length of time the patient stays involved in the activity and the amount of prompting he requires will give the therapist an idea of the extent of his ability to concentrate.  

The therapist can also look for improvements in hand-eye coordination, communication skills, cooperation with others, willingness to teach others, reaction to difficult projects, ability to complete tasks, taking an interest in socializing, and an increase in the ability to focus.  They will also find the patients calmer and more relaxed.