Mosaic opening, Bethlem Royal Hospital

I had the honour of cutting the ribbon to officially open the completed mosaic at our residential unit on 12th October. Celebrations followed with a shared lunch prepared by staff and residents.

The mosaic now hangs over the door to the unit and brightly welcomes new patients to Longfield House. It depicts the journey they will embark on during their treatment, and is a permanent legacy left by past residence for future residence to enjoy. Moving from a ‘caterpillar’ to a ‘butterfly’ is a metaphor for this journey, where they will strive towards freedom from anxiety.

The mosaic is part of the Bethlem Gallery artist-in-residence programme, with artist Natasha Morrison leading the project in partnership with our therapist, Lisa Wheble.

The mosaic took 8 weeks to complete and was worked on by 15 Longfield residents and included hundreds of useful behavioural experiments. The project combined both cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and occupational therapy goals.

The process of making the mosaic addressed many exposure and behavioural experiments, including:

  • Cutting imperfect tiles
  • Placing tiles in the ‘wrong’ places
  • Breaking sharp pieces of tiles
  • Using reflective mirror tiles
  • Imbedding intrusive thoughts in permanent grout
  • Tolerating contamination in the form of grout and glue on hands
  • Placing objects without checking

I hope it provides inspiration for future group projects that combine both CBT and OT goals. The mosaic will continue provide words of encouragement for all those who live in the Longfield House. The feedback from patients involved with the project was extremely positive, with one saying it helped to unite the residents of Longfield House. Another said they planned to buy a mosaic kit upon leaving to keep practising exposure treatment at home.

Some other examples of patient feedback:

“I found the mosaic project both rewarding and challenging. Placing the mosaic pieces for me personally was difficult due to the fact they were not to be placed symmetrically. It was excellent exposure.”

“Like other OCD patients I have a fear of the permanent. My therapy using the mosaic involved intentionally thinking thoughts as I worked. I would have terrible thoughts, which seemed to me would come true if I stuck the piece in place and left it there. It was as if I was setting my thoughts in stone, with no opportunity to reverse them.”

This project is also an example of how much patients can achieve in spite of their anxieties and fears.

Click here for further information about the  Anxiety Disorders Residential Unit.

Comments 1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *