Inspiration & Innovation with Creative Arts Therapy

by Mary Keen

Integrating Creative Arts Therapy into many of CJE’s programs is a natural fit because of our focus on positive aging and lifeenrichment for older adults. We are firm believers in the benefits of Creative Arts Therapy... just check out the halls and walls—even the doors—of our many locations. You’ll find them bursting with colorful, inspiring works produced by our residents and community members who participate in our Creative Arts Therapy groups. CJE SeniorLife was among the first organizations to employ Creative Arts Therapy (CAT) as an established therapeutic process for older adults.

Today, CJE is still considered unique for its intense utilization of Creative Arts Therapy as a way to engage older adults, particularly those with  Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The variety of art forms available—visual art (drawing, painting, weaving, collage, assemblage, etc.), music, dance/movement, writing and theater arts—also sets CJE apart.

Our Creative Arts Therapy offerings, listed below, not only facilitate art-making and artistic expression, but also the appreciation of art.

Artistic Expression with CJE

Art Therapy—Licensed Creative Arts Therapists initiate and facilitate visual art-making in such media as painting, sculpture, drawing, assemblage, collage and more.  Available to residents of Lieberman Center and Weinberg Community (limited availability) and participants of Adult Day Services in Evanston.

Parkinson’s Art Therapy—Designed for people with Parkinson’s disease. In Lieberman Center’s “Telling Your Story Through the Arts” two licensed Creative Arts Therapists facilitate participants’ art-making as a means to express what it’s like to live with Parkinson’s disease. The group’s current project uses puppetry theatre, including the creation of puppets, set designs, script writing and more.  Available at Lieberman Center to residents and general community members. Parkinson’s Art Therapy also available to participants of CJE Adult Day Services in Evanston.

Creative Writing—Participants use writing to tap into their emotions and express themselves. “Write for You” is a Monday afternoon writing group at Lieberman Center facilitated by Katharine Houpt, a registered Art Therapist and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. The group produced Lieberman’s Center’s first literary “zine,” a small circulation, independent publication, that showcases resident writing and artwork.  Available to residents of  Lieberman Center. Creative Writing is also at CJE Adult Day Services Evanston.

Dance/Movement Therapy—It integrates movement and the creative process for those who may not be able to express their emotions verbally. A Registered Dance/Movement Therapist, who is also a Licensed Professional Counselor, facilitates these groups.  Available to residents at Weinberg Community, twice a month at Lieberman Center. Dance/Movement Therapy is also at CJE Adult Day Services in Evanston.

Parkinson’s Dance/Movement Therapy—Designed to be taken with one’s caregiver, this group is led by a Licensed, Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist. It can help decrease Parkinson’s symptoms, allowing for more controlled and organized movement. Focus is on participants’ movement rather than traditional dance. Class is for seated people and those who can stand.  Available to residents of Lieberman Center and to the community.

Drama Therapy—The use of drama and theater techniques to facilitate personal growth and promote mental health. Available to participants of CJE Adult Day Services in Evanston.

Music Therapy—A licensed Music Therapist uses music to draw out adult participants, many with  Alzheimer’s or other memory issues. A variety of easy-to-play instruments are used, providing avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words.  Available to participants of CJE Adult Day Services in Evanston.

Art in the Moment™—A unique joint program of CJE SeniorLife and the Art Institute of Chicago designed specifically for older adults with early- to mid-stage dementia and their caregivers. Participants visit the museum galleries to view and discuss works of art and then engage in related art-making projects with help from a licensed Art Therapist, Art Institute educators and volunteers. Available to groups and through our free app at

Culture Bus™—This award-winning* program offers individuals with early-stage memory loss an opportunity to participate in day trips to various cultural sites and events in metropolitan Chicago and nearby suburbs. Programs and interactive experiences can include art galleries, nature and historical sites and more. The program is supervised by trained staff and volunteers. It includes: docent-guided tours, creative self-expression activities and lunch at local restaurants. Available to community members.

*Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiving Legacy Award.


Call to find out more about CJE’s leading edge Creative  Arts Therapy offerings:

At Lieberman Center 847.929.3022
At Weinberg Community 847.236.7851
For Adult Day Services and Culture Bus 847.492.1400
For Art in the Moment 312.857.7641