Therapy has the ability to help a child work through difficult experiences. It allows a child to verbally and nonverbally communicate emotions that might otherwise be abandoned or sealed from society. Effective therapy instils constructive techniques to self-manage and encourages the development of healthy coping strategies.
Art therapy, for example, can facilitate insight, empathy, and acceptance of other’s life challenges. It is capable of so much as promoting problem-solving skills in children and adults alike. Art therapy is capable of exploring, managing, and providing insight into traumatic experiences. A child receiving therapy is encouraged to develop interpersonal skills. It is capable of helping a child increase their attention-span while decreasing any festering frustrations.
Understanding the power of art therapy, Prayatna Foundation conducted a summer camp at Nandipur Vivekananda Vidyamandir. The camp was for students from the local slum, who come from the kind of social and economic backgrounds which are not very conducive for the holistic growth of the young, enlightened minds and souls.
Many case studies have substantiated the fact that the children who suffer from the emotional injuries due to broken families, alcoholic parents or other toxic environments, can actually achieve reduced anxiety levels, improved recovery time, improved and effective communication and social function, coping skills and pain control, through therapy.
The four days of camp were complete with fun sessions, activities and stimulating experiences for the children. After introductory sessions and ice-breaking, the children were made comfortable with each other and gain mutual respect through games and facilitated activities. They were led to explore their imagination from the very beginning.
Every single day has a specific agenda and was meant to instil certain values and thoughts into the child. They were consistently encouraged to break boundaries of thought and dream bigger. For instance, on day 1, the facilitator displayed pictures explaining eight positive emotional qualities like Hope, Perseverance, Strength, Courage, Self-Control, Joyfulness, Generosity, and Creativity. The students were asked to stick the colour of cloth that they associate with the particular feeling.
The purpose of the activity was to create emotional awareness in young minds through a different form of art.
Each morning, the students were asked to recollect what they learned the previous day for retention and thorough understanding.
Every session took a different art form and a different objective. On one of the days, the kids were given different instruments, including boom whackers, and learnt how to play songs such as ‘We shall overcome’ in harmony. This was to understand their finer motor skills, help them synchronize with each other and comprehend rhythm.
Over the next couple of days, they learnt to express their emotions in different ways, gained inter-personal skills and stepped out of their comfort zone. Through dance, music, story-telling and an immersive artistic week, the children let their imaginations run wild and were motivated towards living in a way that is larger than life!