One meditative stroke at a time, art therapy classes go virtual


Nearly everybody has pivoted to on-line classes because the COVID-19 pandemic set in, necessitating bodily distancing. But virtual classes could be difficult for a few streams, reminiscent of art therapy.

In a common session, a psychologist can carefully observe and counsel the participant — the act of drawing or colouring just isn’t a check of creativity however a software to precise feelings that lie buried deep. As a few art therapists in India have begun on-line classes, they’re discovering it to be a blended bag of prospects.

In pre-COVID instances, the walkway dotted with bougainvillea timber at Hyderabad-based counselling psychologist Saher Ali’s Totums Art Studio would host portray classes. Children would paint for enjoyable. Women would paint on stones, glass bottles, paper or on canvas. Each session was a strategy of expressing their feelings and letting go of inhibitions. The work would regularly turned joyous. Saher complemented these classes with personalised counselling. She was additionally conducting art therapy classes for college kids of the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR), Hyderabad.

“Some of my clients used to visit me, unknown to their families. They were hesitant to take up online sessions due to privacy issues. But with the pandemic showing so signs of ebbing soon, online sessions have begun,” says Saher.

Recently, Saher performed classes on Zoom and Google Meet for focussed teams and plans to conduct extra such classes. For novices, a session that goals to forge a mind-body join begins with a brief meditation. Participants study to attach with their breath whereas portray a stone. Then, they think about a clean sheet of paper as their sky, give it a color after which draw clouds of various sizes, shapes and hues that signify actions they get pleasure from doing essentially the most. “I encourage them to tune in with their thoughts and express what they enjoy the most,” says Saher. Later, members pen down ideas in a journal, and wind up with meditation.

The classes are tailor-made to go well with completely different wants — managing a number of roles in each day life, countering anxiousness, or just de-stressing.

Mandala and symmetry

Poorna SJ Kraleti

Visakhapatnam-based psychologist Poorna SJ Kraleti started conducting on-line classes since she felt that anxiousness points are at an all-time excessive as a result of current circumstances. “Many experience a state of panic, unworthiness and restlessness due to insecurities about the future,” she observes. In her Mandala art classes, which attempt to improve the emotional intelligence of a individual, the patterns are about symmetry and hand-eye coordination. “This symmetry creates a balance in the left and right sides of the brain, which in turn brings excellent problem-solving skills in an individual,” Poorna explains.

Throughout April, May and June, Poorna performed Mandala art classes for teenagers by means of Zoom. “Hormonal changes affect their moods, emotions, and impulses. When there’s limited outside interaction, feelings can be given a constructive outlet through art. Mandalas bring a sense of calm. Some of the larger formats also use body movements and help release pent up emotions,” provides Poorna.

Poorna has additionally been doing one-to-one counselling by means of art therapy to handle psychological well being points.

Note of warning

Simona Lan

Madurai-based Simona Lan, assistant professor of psychology at The American College, has been conducting group art therapy classes as a part of her personal follow and factors out that it’s not a utterly completely happy image. “In a real class, sufficient time goes into sensitising participants so that they do not judge others and show empathy. This gets a little tough in an online class,” she admits.

Prior to a session, she tries to know background particulars of every participant, to work out group dynamics. “An inadvertent comment from one might hurt another participant,” she says. In a session she performed for academicians, she famous how a few didn’t change on the video and a few others wished to simply hearken to her and never paint something at all. “All these challenges need to be factored in as we adapt to virtual therapy,” says Simona.

From a session by Simona Lan

For a few, an art therapy class is perhaps about de-stressing. For others, deeper points might should be addressed by means of particular person classes. Simona factors out that in group classes, those that are new to art therapy typically anticipate quick, tangible outcomes from a two-hour session since they’ve paid for it. Therapy, nonetheless, takes time.

With inputs from Nivedita Ganguly

(Saher Ali could be reached on @totumsartstudio on Instagram, Simona Lan at [email protected] and Poorna at [email protected])

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