Although talk therapy is considered one of the primary ways to successfully treat many psychological issues in psychotherapy patients, learning how to effectively communicate and articulate one's emotions within this process can be a challenge. It takes time, trust and patience, which often translate into years on a therapist's couch. In an attempt to aid in and accelerate this process, designer Nicolette Bodewes created a therapeutic toolkit that aims to help facilitate doctor-patient communication.
Called Tools for Therapy, the tactile toolkit, which she developed while a student at the Design Academy of Eindhoven, is a communication toolkit to support the process of talk therapy by providing a different way for patients to express themselves. An experienced patient herself, Bodewes found that aspects of the process that focused on visualisation as opposed to verbal articulation more helpful.
"I went into therapy myself – I had a burnout when I was 28, so I was quite young," she told Dezeen. "I came into the situation where I had different kinds of therapies at the same time. After years and years of just having normal talk therapy, I started to have psychomotor therapy and creative therapy, which were about all about visualising."
Consisting of a basic set of building blocks (white beams, cubes and cylinders in different sizes) and a slightly more complex collection of 12 objects inspired by Carl Jung’s Jungian Archetypes, Bodewes’ Tools for Therapy set also comes with a round board of tracing paper for the client to draw on.
Each piece in the set is made to help patients visualise their feelings in a more tangible way, helping to focus wandering minds and aid in untangling complicated feeling. For example, arranging objects upon the round board may make it easier for the patient to explain a family or relationship setting, while adding the more complex pieces can add an extra layer when demonstrating these connections.
Presented at Dutch Design Week 2016 – where mental health proved to be a major topic – each object in the set is constructed out of a different material. Bodewes made sure to use inexpensive materials like cork, wood, bluestone, rubber, concrete, plaster and tin, in an effort to make the product as widely available and as affordable as possible.