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About AWB

    Frequently Asked Questions
    with Noell Hammer, Founder, Art Without Boundaries™, MnemeTherapy™

    Q: MnemeTherapy? Never heard of it. It is a form of art therapy?

    A: No. Art Therapy is a psychological process and uses expressive or creative art with the goal of
    exploring feelings. Our goal is provide a rewarding experience and we use everyday, pleasurable
    experiences in a unique combination such as singing and painting, movements, story telling, and praise,
    components that don't require supervision and licensing from the government.  Instead of exploring
    feelings, we try to achieve whole brain synchronization and sustained attentive focus. This may stimulate
    neuroplasticity, or the ability to move functions and create new neural pathways.

    The word "therapy" comes from the Greek "therapeia" meaning "a service, an attendance" which, in turn,
    is related to the Greek verb "therapeuo" meaning "I wait upon." Therapy was (and is) a service for those
    in need. In our case, we provide a service to those with issues pertaining to the brain.

    Q: How did it get started?

    A: In 2000, I was hired as Executive Director of a small Alzheimer's Association Chapter. For an upcoming
    fund raiser, I started painting with Alzheimer's patients and began to notice patterns between the way
    people painted and their verbal and spatial skills. When the chapter territory was assigned to a larger
    chapter, the "Making Memories" program was dropped and later our chapter office was closed.

    At the request of Sarah Rowan, a former board member and friend, I went to Aiken, South Carolina to
    paint with her husband, Dr. Joe. At Mattie C. Hall Rehabilitation Center we had our first documented
    testimonial of dramatic improvement. Surprised and thrilled that this could help people, I began to
    document what I was doing and seeing. Later, I started using "the process" as a private practice and
    continued to see amazing changes that took place in just 30 minutes. After many requests for training, I
    incorporated AWBF in 2005  with the mission to train artists in the process that I called Mnemetechnic
    Therapy. In 2010, we changed to a professional association, where membership is required to practice
    MnemeTherapy®. Membership provides training, certification of competency and continuing education.

    Q: Why did you call it something unpronounceable?

    I'm sure people had trouble pronouncing psychology at first as well. You are probably familiar with
    another word, Mnemonic device. A memory help. MnemeTherapy  is from Mnemosyne, short name,
    Mneme, [pronounced NEMMA rhymes with EMMA] the Greek goddess of memory and mother of the nine
    Muse. I liked the idea of that our process encompassed her daughters as well, not only memory, but the
    Greek attributes for music, art, movement, history and story telling. Alas, we neglect Erato's erotic poetry
    and Urania's astronomy, but...τέτοια είναι ζωή! (such is life)
    So you don't get the wrong idea, we are only using her name like musicians use Muse or psychologists
    use Psyches. This is not a new cult worshipping a mythological Greek Titan.

    Q: Come on, did Autistic children and Alzheimer's patients really do these paintings? I find that
    hard to believe.

    A: Most people don't believe it until they see it. The paintings are done in a process called "Directed
    Painting." We tell the client it's a lot like a cooking class. We know the recipe for the painting and we give
    them the ingredients and instructions on how to do it.

    What we don't get into is that it's the act of painting that's important. MnemeTherapists are trained to use
    painting as an assessment tool, noting horizons, boundaries and other "tells". Based on information
    gathered from the brain, the therapy then sends information to the brain and in a state of sustained
    attentive focus, often the brain responds with its own assessment and course correction. To learn more
    about the process visit our page Directed Painting

    Q: I'd like to train to become a MnemeTherapist, but don't know if the nursing homes in my
    area would be interested. Should I go and talk to the administrators about the program?

    A: Not if you're the type of person who can learn from other's mistakes. Past potential students became
    discouraged because they were asked lots of questions they couldn't answer and basically got shot down
    before they got off the ground. We have a proven system of getting you in front of the decision maker
    and will give you the answers you'll need for the questions they'll ask. The best homework you can do is
    find out if you have plenty of nursing homes, assisted living, adult day centers and autistic programs
    within driving distance. If you want to start the application process, start here

    Q: Do you offer any scholarships?

    A: Unfortunately, no. Students can, however post ads on the Internet and receive credits of $500.00.
    (rules apply:) We also have a sister organization, The Wellness Workshop, where students can train free
    to become a Wellness Workshop Coach and earn extra income

    Q: If I donate to AWBA do I receive a tax benefit?

    A: Yes, The Art Without Boundaries Association has tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the
    Internal Revenue Code. You may make a donation on line by clicking here
Mnemosyne (Mneme) the Greek
goddess of memory and mother of
the Muse
Without  Boundaries, President,
MnemeCorp, Inc

AWB In the News
AWBF has hit the
international media!
SIGNPOST, a journal for
Alzheimer's related
professionals and caregivers in
Wales, UK has featured one of
our paintings on their June 2009
issue. An article and another
AWB painting on the cover was
featured in their winter issue.
The journal is read throughout

Click here to read the article.
The Art Without Boundaries Association