Many people claim that origami works as an effective art therapy and practice it to ease their anxiety. I am not particularly an anxious person, but I do sometimes get nervous when I have a big work event coming up. As soon as I start folding sample pieces to prepare for the event, I feel much better. This is not only because I feel more confident in my work once I'm better prepared, but also because focusing on folding paper, thinking about sequences, and admiring the beautiful paper materials and simplicity of the model give me soothing feel.
Sadako Sasaki, the girl who folded 1,000 paper cranes for her wish to recover her leukemia, perhaps was driven by the same kind of feel. It had also given her something to do while she was at hospital.
I have not been trained as an art therapist, but using and teaching origami as an art therapy is the area of my career that I would love to explore in the future.
One of my students at a senior assisted living facility just gave me this calendar, published by the Parkinson's Disease foundation. Her artwork was chosen to be included in this 2014 calendar. Her quote, "Four years after I was diagnosed with PD, I started making origami. the Japanese art of folding paper. When I am transforming paper into stars and sunflowers, my mind is distracted and happy. My tremors seem to cease. At that moment, there is no Parkinson's Disease."
I am so happy to have heard that what I teach has positive impact on someone's life. It made me feel better. This is one more of many reasons to love origami!