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Integrating the Creative Arts in Therapy

Similarly reaction to trauma or abuse is a very intimate thing. It has become a rationale now to “talk it out” with teachers, counsellors and therapists. I think it’s very difficult for us to “talk” to children without giving advice. It’s very instinctive to want to help them “tide over” things and think of their sentiments to be insignificant. I really think this is why counselling becomes a taboo with many children and adolescents. We make a huge mistake thinking that we have to show them something when we need to actually see with them and make them aware of what “is”.

Arts help immensely in all the situations I have described here. I learnt a lot about my own mind from the experience. I had the freedom to explore my negative emotions and difficult aspects of myself without fear of being judged.

 “The task of therapy is not to eliminate suffering but to give a voice to it, to find a form in which it can be expressed. Expression is itself transformation; this is the message that art brings. The therapist then would be an artist of the soul, working with sufferers to enable them to find the proper container for their pain, the form in which it would be embodied.” – Stephen K. Levine

Another important message I want to give out is that any form of art as therapy is not just for those who are “talented” or “inclined”.  There is no “right way” or “technique” or “expertise” involved here. It’s about what it does for you and what it does to you and not about what others see. Certified therapists are trained to help their clients in that spirit. Research has shown that art and music affect brain wave patterns and chemicals, along with the autonomic nervous response to stress, hormonal balance and influence immunity. Gradually there comes about a change in one’s perceptions , their emotional state and  even in perception of pain.

From experience, I think it’s an area well worth exploring and investing in.


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Dr. Krishna Mahathi holds diplomas in Pediatrics and in the management of allergies and asthma. Years of working and interacting with children and parents have given her insight into developmental disabilities. She wishes that there was more awareness and acceptance of the issues that differently-abled children face and hopes that through this blog, she can enable thse children and their families to make sensible and informed choices.

2 thoughts on “Integrating the Creative Arts in Therapy

  1. Kritika Srinivasan

    Interesting post Krishna. One of the issues of ParentEdge (May-June 2014) had a comprehensive article on this – Different Approaches to Remedial Intervention – where we went into detail and showed how the creative arts can help in therapy. We spoke to a number of people who are engaged in doing just this. It would be nice if you could explain more in subsequent posts – the benefits of creative arts therapy, how it helps children, and maybe draw some examples from your own experiences?


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