What is Art Therapy?
"Art therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behaviour, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight. Art therapy integrates the fields of human development, visual art (drawing, painting, sculpture, and other art forms), and the creative process with models of counseling and psychotherapy."
We were fortunate enough to shadow the experts in our interested area for few days. Some wanted to focus on dance & music, women’s rights, education, medical care or art. I wanted to see the reality of the medical care system in
. Our internship was at Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Fann (known as hospital Fann). On the first day, we attended the art therapy session. It seemed like it was used mostly for the “mental” patients ( even though we couldn’t quite figure out their definition of “mental” illness since there were alcohol and drug rehab patients, deaf patients, college student patients who came for anxiety etc) but it was open for the public for free and there were both in-patients and out-patients. I absolutely loved the environment. It was a small studio with some reggae music. Nobody was judging or judged, and everybody was free to express whatever they were feeling inside by all means. Some drew, some talked, some just made tea all day, some listened to the music, some told jokes and riddles and some wrote poems. A patient that I worked with told me his life story. He mostly complained about the poor quality of life in Senegal and about the lack of opportunity to follow his dreams which were writing music and film making. Everybody had no shame in sharing their thoughts. Everybody was so welcoming and open-minded. I was thinking that I was going there to help but I was the one who was helped. How these people could genuinely love the others even us foreigners was heart-warming. I felt truly comfortable and “healed” in that little studio. Senegal
Omar is deaf. He was born deaf. His brother is a doctor at the hospital and that's how he found out about the art therapy. he was recently married and just had a baby boy! i could tell that he was so happy when we asked him about his family. he also recently sold his art piece which helped finacing raising the child. Now he is the head of the family and he feels like he is doing something right.
|Omar; my favorite artist/patient.|
|one of my favorite art works by Omar.|