Deborah Elkis-Abuhoff, PhD, LCAT, associate professor in the Creative Arts Therapy program in the School of Health Professions and Human Services, and her research partner, Morgan Gaydos, MA’07, LCAT, have been awarded the 2016 Rawley Silver Research Award from the American Art Therapy Association (AATA).
Their submission, “Assessing Clay Manipulation through qEEG,” was rated best in a blind review by the AATA research committee. It is a continuation of their art therapy work using clay manipulation with Parkinson’s Disease patients (read about it in the Fall 2010 Hofstra Horizons).
“In the past we found a decrease in emotional symptomology and an increase in affect. For example, there was a significant decrease in depression, phobia and obsessive thinking, as well as a decrease in stress, all common symptoms of Parkinson’s,” said Dr. Elkis-Abuhoff. “In this phase, we are collecting quantitative data and looking at the impact on the brain from engaging in the clay manipulation process. Since we are just about to initiate the qEEG [quantitative electroencephalography] research phase, what we are interested in finding, and predicting, is a change in brain stimulation and brainwave activity – alpha, beta and gamma – during the clay manipulation versus the participants’ resting state.”
The award carries a prize of $1000, which Dr. Elkis-Abuhoff says will be used to further fund this research. The hope is that as they collect data during this phase they will also be able to secure grant money to update their equipment and disseminate their work.
Both she and Gaydos, a 2007 Hofstra creative art therapy program alumna, will be honored at the American Art Therapy Association annual conference in Baltimore, Maryland from July 6-10, 2016. They will also jointly present on neuro art therapy, and Dr. Elkis-Abuhoff will also make two additional presentations related to neuro art therapy and developing research projects.