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Benefits of Magic Therapy

The Occupational Therapist concentrates on specific problems resulting from a medical problem that interferes with a client’s independence and productivity. Together the therapist and client work to attain improvement in many areas. The use of simple magic tricks from the HEALING OF MAGIC program can assist in:

GROSS MOTOR SKILLS: range of motion, strengthening, and balance in the upper and lower extremities.

FINE MOTOR SKILLS: dexterity, eye-motor coordination, speed and accuracy, object manipulation.

PSYCHOSOCIAL: self efficacy, self esteem, group interaction, interpersonal skills.

ATTENTION: concentration, task follow-through, memory.

PERCEPTION: visual (form discrimination, form constancy, spatial relations, figure group, eye-hand coordination), tactile, proprioception, kinesthesia.

MOTOR PLANNING: being able to plan and know what steps are necessary for a particular movement.

COGNITIVE: following simple and complex directions, memory, planning, sequencing, organizing, problem solving.



Magic & Occupational Therapy

HEALING OF MAGIC provides the therapist with a valuable new tool to motivate clients to become more involved in their treatment.

“Using magic as a therapeutic modality empowers therapists with an exciting new tool to help clients achieve functional/measurable goals.”
* Debbie M. Fisher, MS OTR/L CHT

The applications of HEALING OF MAGIC address the entire spectrum to include developmental disabilities, mental health, physical disabilities, gerontology, and specific disease related deficits. For many years, magic therapy as successfully been used in acute care, rehab, outpatient hand therapy and pediatrics.

The movements required to learn simple magic tricks help clients regain lost physical skills while increasing motivational levels and self esteem. In this form of therapy, a magic trick can be what leads a patient back to a functional life.

Occupational therapy uses a variety of activities to help clients achieve competency in the every day things one must do. One of the biggest challenges therapists face is keeping the client motivated and engaged in the process.

The simple things – zipping a zipper or buttoning a shirt – are not very motivating. While these tasks are essential, they are not much fun or interesting. Clients can quickly lose interest in these types of activities which translates into less than satisfactory results.

Learning magic tricks, on the other hand, can be both engage and continually motivate the client with each new trick. And because all the tricks in the HEALING OF MAGIC program are designed to improve physical, psychological, perceptual, or social functions, the client’s rehabilitative progress is more quickly achieved than in some traditional methods. Each new trick builds on the skills of the last and, once mastered, clients can share this new-found ability with family and friends.

As a result, clients spend much more time voluntarily on acquiring complex and sequential series of motor skills that they might otherwise simply tolerate. They continue to practice the moves required to do the magic routines; and with each repetitive movement, the skill is mastered translating into better results more quickly.



Magic & Behavioral Disorders

Achieving mastery and control over the environment is an important developmental task to experience during adolescence. Magic can be a creative tool to assist in achieving this goal. Offering an outlet for self expression, self identity, and appropriate communication (even with the most non-verbal adolescents), magic can be used to capture their attention. Studies have shown that the use of magic with this population resulted in an increase in one’s sense of mastery, enhanced comfort level in social situations and improved confidence in the performance of adaptive and functional tasks.

When used as a group activity, participants learn a magic trick and perform it for the group using their own dialogue or patter. This process encourages and develops assertiveness, leadership skills, problem solving skills, and increases appropriate social interaction.

Psychologically, magic can raise self-esteem, encourage independence, provide social experiences, and enhance communication and management skills.

Additional therapeutic goals that can be achieved utilizing magic therapy are improve concentration and task follow-through; problem-solving; perceptual skills in spatial relation and form constancy; self efficacy and self esteem; following three/four step commands and complex directions; improve mood and appropriateness of affect; and frustration tolerance.

This type of therapy may prove effective in treating various other behavioral disorders including Substance Abuse, Bipolar Disorder, ADHD/ADD, Depressive disorder/depression/mood, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Schizoaffective Disorder.

HEALING OF MAGIC is currently exploring research opportunities to document the effectiveness of using magic tricks in the treatment of behavioral disorders.