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    Healing through art

    CHENNAI: Words lie, Art doesn’t. For the query, “How are you?” Most of us instinctively say, “I am fine”, even though we might feel far away from it. On the contrary, when given a piece of paper and some colours and asked to express through ‘art’ for the same query, “How are you?”, the drawings that people come up with throws up a whole new dimension.Magdalene Jeyarathnam, Founder-Director of East West Centre for Counselling Centre, who has been in the field of counselling for close to two decades, made the above observation as she shared the ingenious use of Art Therapy in counselling.Going by this premise, East West Centre for Counselling has introduced the first-of-its kind certificate courses in Art Therapy in Chennai for those who wish to pursue professional counseling or Art Therapy as a career.Magdalene noted, “Art Therapy is a powerful tool in the hands of the counsellor, mostly people are incapable of expressing themselves in words. When words fail, art comes to rescue.Through art, the memories or the images that otherwise lie buried in their unconsciousness is brought to the surface, and then the therapist through various sessions helps the client to deal with it.” In Art Therapy, various art techniques such as art work, clay, water colours, crayons, oil on canvas, sewing, collages, group discussions, games and exercises, case studies, role-play presentation and testimonies are used.Art Therapy is successfully used to deal with individuals, couples or families who are suffering from trauma, grief and loss, substance abuse, vocational burn out, depression and anxiety and also personal development.The training methodology used is experiential learning. They also use some quantitative common test like Silvers Test-House -Tree-person test to get a baseline understanding of the client.Magdalene said, “During the course, the therapist can also create their own assessment test. For example, at the beginning of the therapy, if the client takes the House-Tree-person test, and after three months into the therapy, the client is asked to undergo the same test again, the therapist can draw inferences on the assessment test.” There is a paucity of professionals in India to train people in this field of Art Therapy. Magdalene observed, “Most of them go abroad to get trained in Art Therapy, but sadly they don’t come back to India to practice or train others.” Melba Thorn, who holds a BFA from Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam and MA in Marital and Family Therapy specialising in “Clinical Art Therapy” from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, will be the trainer for this course.They offer a weekend module for professionals at a cost of Rs 3,000. And the one year diploma course comes with a tuition fee of Rs 50,000. They also offer Art therapy sessions for those who need it.Call 9884100135, 98847 00164 or visit www.centerforcounselling.blogspot.com for details.