Overcoming Fears, Trying Something New
by Bob Krider
I'm a recreational therapist on a behavioral health unit. Every week or two I introduce origami to a new group of adults. Many have heard of origami, many haven't. The majority are very wary and are reluctant to give it a try. However, overcoming fears and the need to try something new is just why I see them.
Folks that are admitted are having a variety of crises, most so critical that they can't live with themselves. They come into the hospital's psychiatric unit typically because life in their estimation is not worth living.
They typically want some magic that will make the pain go away. However, the best we can offer is safety, caring people, building coping skills, and sending them off with connections to continue long-term help. A small part of that help happens to be origami.
As a small group around a table attempts to accomplish something unknown, the elements of origami opens all sorts of opportunities for teaching moments that readily relate to real-life challenges. Paying attention to details, asking for help, helping others, dealing with frustration, laughing, the joy of accomplishment, and on and on.
Any one who has taught someone else origami has experienced the remarkable power in a square piece of paper. Sometimes someone gets very enthusiastic. Some may never attempt another origami swan or hopping frog. The pleasant experience is enough.