Cognitive Connections

Cognitive Connections, a dignity-promoting arts training initiative for caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s disease  and other forms of cognitive impairment, was developed in collaboration with Cognitive Dynamics advisory board member and Executive Arts Director, Angel Duncan, MA-MFT, ATR.

Angel has extensive experience as both an art therapist and marriage and family therapist, and has been an instructor, trainer, and lecturer across the United States on the use of expressive arts therapies in the cognitively-impaired.  Angel has worked with the Alzheimer’s Association and has been a consultant with some of the country’s leading providers of senior care and home health.  She has lectured extensively on successful aging and the role of art therapy in the promotion of human dignity and quality of life.  She recently co-authored “Expressive Arts Therapies in Geriatric Neurology“, the first-ever medical textbook chapter on the expressive arts therapies (in Geriatric Neurology, John Wiley and Sons, publishers, 2011) with Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN.

The goal of Cognitive Connections is to offer the benefits of art therapy (which include fostering of dignity, preservation of a sense of self-worth, and improvement in quality of life) to individuals affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive impairment.  Realizing that not every community has access to board-certified art therapists, Cognitive Connections seeks to train professional and lay caregivers in proven techniques of art therapy, so that its benefits may be more widely experienced.  At the completion of training, a Cognitive Connections certificate will be awarded.

For more information, or to schedule Cognitive Connections Training, please contact

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    Angel Duncan

    Angel C. Duncan has an extensive background in counseling psychology, art therapy and Alzheimer’s disease clinical research and diagnostics. She is the Executive Arts Director for the Cognitive Dynamics Foundation and oversees education and training in Medical Life Sciences at Life Molecular Imaging.

    Angel served as the Director of Education and Research Associate for the Neuropsychiatric Research Center of Southwest Florida, later serving as the Program Director and Assistant Professor for the Masters of Art in Art Therapy and Counseling program at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven. She is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Tampa, and guest teaches throughout the country. In 2019, Angel co-developed and co-coordinates Arts in Mind, an art museum and art therapy program for persons living with early onset and early stage dementia at the Yale University Art Gallery. In 2020, Angel served as the Co-Chair of the first East Meets West symposia at the 75th Annual Gerontological Society of America Conference, and in 2021, she Chaired the first Creativity in Neurosciences track for the 12th Annual Expressive Therapies Summit. In 2022, Angel was selected as a national key opinion leader for a three-month forum on Creative Aging Innovations by The Kennedy Center, Georgetown, and Mather.

    Angel resides on the Board of Directors for the Cognitive Dynamics Foundation and holds council on the Medical Advisory Board for Lorenzo’s House, a national non-profit serving families living with Young On-set Alzheimer’s disease. She was a contributing blogger for The Huffington Post and Linkedin in dementia, health and wellbeing themes in life development. For eight years she served as a Peer Reviewer for the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association and resided on their Research Committee. Angel is currently a Peer Reviewer for the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Frontiers in Psychology. She is a recognized speaker and consultant, working with leading organizations in brain health initiatives and diagnostic biomarker imaging research across the globe.

    Angel has been interviewed and featured in diverse media for her work in dementia and mental health. She is a widely published author, some of her contributions include: The Journal of Neurology and Neurological Disorders, The Handbook of Geriatric Neurology, Practical Neurology, Creative Arts-Based Group Therapy with Adolescents, Art Therapy and Healthcare, Art, Angst and Trauma, The International Journal of Lifelong Learning in Art Education and The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.