Origami as therapy for mental illness

Origami or the art of folding papers helps many people to recover from mental health problems, from serious depression to schizophrenia, writes Vestinet portal.

Photo from: www.spoon-tamago.com
Photo from: www.spoon-tamago.com

The Japanese word “origami” is a name for the art of folding papers to make it look like a bird, ship, or anything else. To many people origami is a relaxing hobby. For others, it is serious art form. For some it is physical representation of mathematical and biological principles. But for Ken Fowler, origami was a way for him to recover from mental illness and start a new career.

In the public library in Boulder city, Ken Fowler is popular member of the club “Boulder’s folders”. “Boulder’s folders” are one of 70 American and almost 50 international origami clubs and they are made of people who like to fold paper.

“I think that paper folding in a group is more fun than doing it alone.”

The director of the club, Barbara Gardner, says the she appreciates enthusiasm of Ken Fowler.

“Ken is very motivated. He is a good learner. He made a lof of them to learn how to fold the paper, he learned how to read diagrams and he became a great teacher.”

Adults with mental health problems also benefit from Fowler’s teaching. Peter Colovski is a member of the staff of Chinook Club.

“Chinook Club is place for the recovery of mentally ill persons. We guarantee that people will find meaningful work here.”

Fowler said that origami helped him to find sense in life three years ago when he was hospitalized for depression and when medicins weren’t helping him much. Some of his doctors suggested electro shock therapy (ECT). While he was considering whether to consent to the treatment, an art therapist introduced him to origami.

“You can really relax, there is no rush, there is no competition.”

Fowler refused ECT. He is still taking antidepressants, but he says that he is sure that making origami figures has made situation easier for him. He said that the documentary “Between the folded sheets”, from Vanesa Gould, inspired him to learn more about this ancient art and to learn how to teach others.

“If you cannot find where you are in it, and you wonder where you are in your life, simply unfold it.”

Fowler also said that life is like origami. One can always fold the edges of the paper, to unfold them and start folding them again in order to start a new chapter. Besides the volunteer work in Chinook Club and with Boulder’s Folders, he also got hired as teacher of origami at the local community club.

1 COMMENT

LEAVE A REPLY