Friday, November 18, 2016
MINDFULNESS AND ART THERAPY WORK WONDERS FOR REFUGEES
I truly believe that one can judge the moral decency of a society by looking at how well that society attends to the needs of the sick, the elderly, the marginalised and others in great need of assistance such as refugees and asylum seekers. Many Western nations do not measure up well by that yardstick.
A combination of mindfulness and art therapy is being used to help refugees and asylum seekers in Hong Kong, according to a recent article in The Arts in Psychotherapy.
The article describes how a program which provides workshops on art making and mindfulness meditation has supported individuals in moving forward after traumatic experiences. The authors of the article state that the ‘overlap between art therapy and mindfulness in this context represent the realities of the suffering of the participants as well as the possibility of working towards enhancing coping and resilience.’
Both mindfulness and art therapy have been used with survivors of trauma for some time now. The article published in The Arts in Psychotherapy looks at how a combination of the two can help refugees and asylum seekers acknowledge human suffering and traumatic life events while at the same time recognises the resilience that exists and the search for healing, health and growth.’
The two activities are inherently therapeutic and when used in combination there appears to be a synergistic effect, facilitating the expression of feelings associated with trauma, suffering and the problems associated with coping (for example, anger, rage, vulnerability and depression).
Journal article: Kalmanowitz D and Ho, R T (2016). ‘Out of our mind: Art therapy and mindfulness with refugees, political violence andtrauma.’ The Arts in Psychotherapy, 49, 57-65.