Jean Hauck wants people to color away their problems.
Take some paint, felt-tip markers or a crayon or two, listen to some music and draw your feelings on a piece of paper.
What you paint, and what colors you use, can give your inner most thoughts away -- and help you in dealing with them. So says Hauck, a color therapist and artist who lives in Geneva, Switzerland. This month, she is bringing her unique brand of medicine to the O'Malley Senior Center in Odenton.
"They have to paint out their emotions on paper," Hauck says. "They don't have to paint anything tangible, just what they feel. Dissatisfaction comes out through colors. The forms make it easier to talk about it. And once spoken, the problem goes away."
Hauck says the therapy has been used in Europe for years and isjust now gaining popularity in the United States.
"This will be my very first time doing this completely in English," she says in a slight French accident. "I find that amusing."
Hauck says she learned color therapy in England and Austria, and has since spread the wordin Switzerland, where she has lived for the past 27 years. She was born in Maryland.
"People are becoming more aware of this alternative medicine," Hauck says. "They are trying to get away from so much medicine. Using color, you can't hurt yourself. You can only help."
Hauck's sessions are small, no more than 10 people. They first gather around and listen to music. Stimulated by the music, they start to put colors down on paper -- Hauck provides 250 colors from which to choose. Then the group sits around and analyzes their work.
Ann Marie Remillard, director of the O'Malley center, says she thinks seniors will be fascinated by the program.
"It is difficult to explain if you haven't experienced it," she said. "People are hung up on having to produce something actually in existence. I have not witnessed this procedure. It is something new to me also."
Remillard said the center was lucky to have Hauck, who has a sister living in Odenton. "If she comes back to visit, I hope we can have her again."
Hauck said she practices color therapy on many age groups, from 7-year-old kids to people in their 80s. Each group, she says, has different problems that come out in their paintings.
Seniors, she said, "get crotchety. They come away from (painting) feeling very pleased with themselves. They enjoy themselves like they never have before."
She said the first and last sessions are the hardest because people are given little direction in what to do. "They have complete freedom. They can do everything but paint the other fellow's nose."
At other sessions, however, Hauck will give the entire group one giant sheet of paper, letting them paint anywhere they like, even over other people's work.
"Color is really light and vibrations," Hauck said. "More and more, people are finding uses for colors."
She says doctors often will shine blue lights on patients with Jaungus to help them get better faster; children with learning disabilities are put in classrooms colored yellow to help stimulate the mind; and pink light, Hauck says, is used in prison cells for "calming down the most problem prisoners."