Celtic Art Therapy and ADD, ADHD, OCD

Individuals who have been diagnosed with attention deficit issues such as ADD and ADHD occasionally reject the benefit of a Celtic Art Therapy Plate as being too involved for their mental state. This is likewise true of individuals who have been diagnosed with OCD. However, once introduced to the Celtic Art Therapy experience, these individuals are able to appreciate the passive state of relaxed awareness, and often benefit by it.

Showing the Celtic Art Therapy collection for the past two years has yielded the following observations with regard to attention deficit conditions.

Introducing an individual with ADD or ADHD to a Celtic Art Therapy Plate must be done slowly and calmly in order for the over-actively attentive mind to slow down. ADD and ADHD individuals must be able to relax into the Celtic Art Experience so that outside stimuli subside and the individual begins to focus solely on tracing the Celtic knot. Once an individual achieves and maintains a passive state of mind, they often remain focused on the Celtic Art Experience to the extent that they lose tract of time.

Introducing an individual with OCD to a Celtic Art Therapy Plate must also be done slowly and calmly, but must focus more on the “rules” of the Celtic Art Therapy experience. This supports an OCD individual’s need for an activity’s sense of logic and structure. Most often a ‘weaving’ Celtic knot that crosses over and under presents a challenge for an individual with OCD because they have conditioned themselves not to “cross outside the lines”. When showing her work, Anne Ravensdaughter is fond of saying, “My art, my rules” to individuals with OCD to help them shed this obsession and relax into the reasoning at hand.

“Open” designs such as the Celtic Trinity, the Celtic Wolf or the Celtic Curls work best with attention deficit and obsessive compulsive disorders. Occasionally, an individual with attention issues will be attracted to a “medium” or “tight” design, but this is usually not the norm. Individuals with OCD are rarely attracted to “medium” or “tight” designs, and can reject the entire Celtic Art Therapy experience when first exposed to anything but an “open” design.

The following is a specific observation made by Celtic artist Anne Ravensdaughter with regard to attention deficit conditions.

  • A 27 year old woman with ADHD began to use the Celtic Trinity Art Therapy Plate at the Michigan Renaissance Festival in 2010 where Anne was showing her work. The woman began to trace, but then began to talk excitedly while ignoring the Plate. Anne guided the woman to focus again, and again, and again – and after the fourth attempt at focusing, the woman finally gave her full attention to the Celtic Art Therapy Plate. She traced the design for 15 minutes without saying a word, and when she finally felt the desire to stop she looked up slowly, blinked slowly, and said, “My headache is gone.”