Scrapbooking Has Therapeutic Benefits

I found this article and thought I would share…we all “knew” this but now we have an expert who agrees!

The Therapeutic Value of Scrapbooking

By: Kathy Johnson, COTA

I have been a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant for 16 years and have
worked with many different types of physical disabilities and clients with
mental illness. When I started scrapbooking 8 years ago, I never realized what
a therapeutic value it could have on my life. As the years have gone by I have
also recognized the therapeutic values scrapbooking can have for those many
different types of physical disabilities and those with mental illness. I have
discovered that Scrapbooking has many qualities that can help restore an
overall sense of well being, accomplishment, and self-worth, as well as help
with physical deficits. Taking photos of loved ones and creating a scrapbook
not only showcases familiar photos, but can also display feelings and
memorabilia. It is not only the actual “scrapbooking” of pictures, but the
memories the pictures reveal, that can be of great value.

I made a 25th Wedding Anniversary album for my parents and which included
photos from their childhood as well as photos from the time since they were
married. What I learned from rummaging through all these old photos was an
invaluable lesson in family heritage. There were places they had been, and
family members I did not know and events that were unknown to me until I sorted
through these photos and interviewed my parents. The end result was a wonderful
memento of their lives and a keepsake we could all cherish and share for
generations to come.

Individuals with depression can find comfort in scrapbooking memories from the
past. Using the scrapbooking task as a way to help individuals with mental illness
stay on task, follow directions and reinforce the need to complete a project
are all valuable Life Skills they will need to be productive individuals in the
community. Many with mental illness have a sense of hopelessness and low self
worth. Scrapbooking can provide these individuals with a great sense of

The physical benefits of scrapbooking became evident to me while working
with a young brain injured individual in Rehab. This person used the cropping
tools to increase her fine motor skills, as well as the photos to help with
memory recall of loved ones and others from her life. Cutting with scissors or
a paper trimmer and handwriting journaling helps build good fine motor skills
as does using shapes and stencils. Visual/perceptual skills are also utilized
with the activity.

Following directions of the therapist or using an idea book help with
organizing thoughts and following verbal and written instruction. The
organization skills needed to complete a scrapbooking page can assist a head
injured individual with the skills needed in many aspects of their life, from
Activities of Daily Living to work skills for returning to employment. The step
by step tasks of building a scrapbook page allow the individual to process
information and put the steps together to form a completed task. Then putting
all the pages together to form a completed scrapbook reinforces the idea of
task completion and the overall understanding of getting an end product from
their labor of love.

Overall the craft of scrapbooking can be therapeutic to all of us in some
way. The companies that create scrapbooking supplies and tools are often coming
out with easier and less complex ways to create scrapbooks. Someone with
limited hand motion or cognitive skills can learn to master this wonderful
craft with minimal guidance. I highly recommend scrapbooking as a therapeutic
tool for anyone and hope that if you know someone who would reap its benefits,
you will pass your love of this art form on to them.

Kathy Johnson, COTA

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant and




About the Author: Kathy is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant and
avid scrapbooker for the past 8 years.



2 thoughts on “Scrapbooking Has Therapeutic Benefits”

  1. I am just beginning to start scrapbooking after watching relatives and friends get really involved in the activity. I am glad to hear that there are many therapeutic values. I come from a large family and I have experienced some trials and tribulations in the past few years. I know many good things are also there and I hope this will help me focus on the good.

  2. What an absoluting fabulous article. Some years ago, a therapist in South Africa contacted me to say she was using my book Scrapbook Storytelling to help rape victims in their recovery. I don’t know any other hobby that can boast that sort of help!


Leave a Comment