For License Clinical Social Worker Larry D. Johns, working with Veterans is a personal connection. As a Retired United States Marine Corps (USMC) Veteran now a License Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) at the Orlando VA Health Care System (OVAHCS) Domiciliary, Johns found pour painting to be relaxing and calming while attending the University Central Florida (UCF).
Pour painting is an art form that uses an acrylic paint mixture that is fluid, which you pour over a canvas using various paint pouring techniques. With no formal training in art therapy, Johns approached his leadership team about providing art therapy sessions.
Johns goes on to say, “I knew Veterans could benefit from this and when I approached my leadership team, they supported the idea, and I ran with it.” Larry now provides this amazing therapy session, and it shows in the Veterans growth within their individual program.
“I do abstract art and pour painting. I do it because I believe it will help Veterans relax and pick up a skill that they could use to help them deal with the stressors of life”, says Johns.
During the art therapy sessions, Domiciliary residents can express their emotions through pour painting. Helping to cope and heal depression, anxiety, and trauma.
Sessions are offered twice a month for an hour. During these sessions, the step by step process of pour painting is demonstrated. Residents then pick and choose paint colors, and with their own motions can begin to create a beautiful unique canvas that they can take with them as a reminder of the creativity they have and calmness these exercises can provide.
“Trust the process and give it a try. My mind is at ease during the hour I am pour pairing with Johns and I appreciate what he has taught me,” says Army Veteran, Charles Fogleman.
Navy Veteran, Michelle Rodriguez echoes Fogleman’s sentiment with “I learned to let go and be creative.” Rodriguez goes on to say, “I can show my art to my family and it is something to be proud of.”
Art therapy sessions such as pouring paint with Johns is a huge part of many Veterans journey at the Domiciliary.
Johns further explains that pouring paint therapy provides an amazing opportunity for Veterans and has made a tremendous impact in the lives of residents who participate in the program.
“All the items that are used, the paint and supplies, I purchased. I do it because I love to see the lasting effect pour painting has on the Veterans,” says Johns.
Johns goes on to say “I feel elated. I love watching Veterans grow and explore their own creativity as they are going through the pour painting techniques. I am at peace when I watch them.
The smiles on Veterans faces are what keeps Johns motivated to continue to offer the classes each week.
“To see them come in grouchy and not sure if they really want to do this, to thanking me at the end, and then ready to sign up for the next group, gives me great joy.
For more information on how to become a volunteer or make a donation, please contact the Center for Development and Civic Engagement (CDCE) office at the Orlando VA Medical Center by calling 407-631-0135, the Lake Baldwin VA Medical Center at: 407-646-5070, the Viera VA Outpatient Clinic at: 321-637-3611, the Daytona Beach Multispecialty Clinic at: 386-323-7500 ext. 37711, or by mailing: email@example.com. Learn more about the CDCE by visiting, https://www.cdceportal.va.gov/donate_at_facility/.
To learn about the facilities and services offered by the OVAHCS, please visit: VA Orlando Health Care | Veterans Affairs, subscribe to receive email updates by clicking here, like us on Facebook at: Orlando VA Healthcare System | Facebook, follow us on Instagram at: Orlando VA Healthcare System (@ovahcs) • Instagram photos and videos or on Twitter at:@OVAHCS / Twitter.