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 angel@cognitivedynamics.org.

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    Angel Duncan

    Angel C. Duncan has an extensive background in counseling psychology in marriage and family therapy, art therapy, and Alzheimer’s clinical research and diagnostics. She is the Executive Arts Director for the Cognitive Dynamics Foundation and is the Director of Education for Medical Life Sciences at Life Molecular Imaging. Her doctorate education is in Geropsychology from Scottsdale, AZ. Angel was twice recognized by the National Society of Leadership and Academic Leadership and Success programs under NorthCentral University. At Stanford University and the University of California- San Francisco, her research and work were focused in dementia and psychiatric disorders. Angel was the Programs Director and Supervisor for the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California- Northern Nevada chapter, later serving as the Research Associate and Director of Education at the Neuropsychiatric Research Center of Southwest Florida.

    Angel has worked with leading organizations in brain health initiatives across the globe. She resides on the Medical Advisory Board for Lorenzo’s House, a Chicago based nonprofit foundation providing resource and support programs for families living with Young-Onset Alzheimer’s disease. She has secured and supported large grants for various organizations on state and federal levels, including the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Angel is part-time faculty at the University of Tampa and guest teaches throughout the country. She founded and co-directs a monthly art museum program, Arts in Mind at the Yale University Art Gallery.

    Angel served on the Research Committee for the American Art Therapy Association, and was a journal peer reviewer for the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association for eight years. She is currently a journal peer reviewer for Frontiers in Psychology and The Journal of Alzheimer’s’ Disease. In 2021, Angel was the Chair of the first Neurosciences and Creativity symposia for the Expressive Therapies Summit, and in 2020, Co-Chaired the first East Meets West symposia for the Gerontological Society of America. She was selected by George Washington University, the Kennedy Center and Mather for a global panel forum on creativity and dementia. Angel is a widely published author and recognized speaker featured in diverse media for her work in mental health and dementia forms.

    RadioPublic, Breaker and other platforms- highlighting the importance of creativity on brain health, aging empowerment, research efforts and lifestyle factors in health and wellness. Angel is a widely published author and is featured in diverse media for her work in mental health and dementia forms.