Play is therapeutic. In speaking with my friend Susy Newman about PlayFull’s big idea some time ago, she drew my attention to an organization dedicated to informing people about art therapy and promoting its practice. The organization is aptly called the Art Therapy Alliance. I invite you to check out their work.
Recently, the Art Therapy Alliance directed their members to a story about the use of art therapy among women in Nepal who are survivors of human trafficking. These women were exposed to art therapy as a healing practice to treat the wounds of their past. Now, these same women are using art therapy to help other women who are facing the same challenges. Artistic seeds spread, reproducing life-giving fruit. Play begets more play.
Another woman using art as a healing agent in the Bronx tells a story how a simple photograph enabled a traumatized child to find her smile again. She writes:
“I work with children from so many different backgrounds, with so many different abilities. But the one thing that I have seen work as a healer with all of them is art. When I tell them that it’s ok for their imaginations to take the lead for a bit, their entire demeanors shift. They use their anxiety, or happiness, or confusion, to create something.”
Reading the newspaper, one would think despair has the last word. Though joy seems elusive, she may be as close as a friend with a simple invitation to join them in play.
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