The Art2Healing Workshop

I recently participated in a 5 day Creative Art Threapy organised by The Art2Healing Project. The workshop took place from 8-12 October 2010 at Change Nepal, Thamel.  There were 15 participants which consisted of counselors from TPO Nepal, Change Nepal, Saathi and some students from Tribhuvan University (including me). Lydia Tan, founder/director of The Art2Healing Project facilitated the workshop and it went very well. The nature of the training was completely participatory and experiential so, it made every participant feel engaged.

Photo 1: Making art to be used in the workshop session.

It was wonderful to learn few new techniques on using art in therapeutic setting, esp. counseling. As we practiced the techniques during the workshop, it was interesting to explore the art work and how it could act as doors to our hearts and minds. Art is an  easy way to express  our feelings and help us to understand it better. I think this kind of training for counselors and therapists can be really useful working with children and adults who have difficulty expressing  their thoughts & feelings in verbal communication.

Photo 2: Making a group body sculpture (we were trying to make a heart-shaped sculpture by joining the hands together representing the feeling of belonging and safety).

Besides art, there was yoga, meditation, body- sculpting, games that made workshop interesting and worthwhile. The 5 days went so fast and quickly, I enjoyed every moment of the workshop. I loved making art though I am not that very good at that. It was so wonderful when it was time to explore the work after doing it and it really contains our feelings and feelings. Like Lydia said, “Art serves as a safe container.”

Photo 3: One of the paintings I did in the workshop. This is titled Self-Awareness.

For the picture above, we were asked to draw/paint a picture on the theme:”Where am I now in my journey of life?” I could not have a single image in my mind so, I painted this, just the brush strokes all over using different colours which are symbolic and have meanings.

I vividly remember one interesting case during the art therapy session. One of the participants role-played as client and we were exploring her art work. The role play is real and related with our lives, we tell what is happening in our lives. The stories we shared were real.  I looked at her picture and it was interesting to notice that she had forgotten to draw the mouth for her daughter in the art. When I told her about it, she felt little bit embarrassed for forgetting to draw the mouth. Then, I asked her if her daughter does not speak much. She replied, “No, she talks a lot but we have not spoken a single word, talked with each other for so many days. We are so busy with our works.” It reminded me of TAT test in which we interpret the hidden motives and make associations in test-taker’s life using the stories from ambiguous picture presented to him/her.

Thank you Jamuna Maharjan Shrestha, counselor from TPO Nepal for letting me know about the workshop and encourgaging me to participate in it. And Thanks to Lydia for sharing her knowledge and skills in the workshop. I and my friend Raj met Lydia on 22 Oct. 2010 for a short interview which I will be posting soon here in my blog.

The Art2Healing Project is a non-profit, creative arts therapy organization based in Asia that is dedicated to assisting and empowering individuals at risk, particularly women and children who are victims of trauma.

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