Abu Dhabi: What role does art therapy play in a person's well-being? A two-day event in Abu Dhabi explored just that. Its ultimate aim is to advance the field of art therapy on a global scale. The event brought together a diverse group of experts, including art psychotherapists, life scientists, specialists, and art therapy enthusiasts from across the globe.
The Abu Dhabi Center for Sheltering and Humanitarian Care – Ewaa, an affiliate of the Department of Community Development (DCD), organised and hosted MENA region’s first Art Therapy Conference. The pioneering event was themed “Empowering through Creativity”, ran from October 17th and 18th here.
This maiden conference represents a significant step forward in the world of therapeutic art, exploring its profound effects on mental health, recovery from violence and abuse, emotional well-being, and personal growth.
At the core of this ground-breaking conference is a commitment to fostering the exchange of innovative ideas and evidence-based research. Its ultimate aim is to advance the field of art therapy on a global scale. The event brings together a diverse group of experts, including art psychotherapists, life scientists, specialists, and art therapy enthusiasts from across the globe.
Sarah Shuhail, Director-General of Ewaa, stated, “Art therapy is a transformative technique rooted in the idea that creative expression can foster healing and mental well-being. This event perfectly aligns with Ewaa’s dedication to providing solace, empowerment, and assistance to survivors of trauma. It is an integral part of our 360° Model of Care, where individuals who have experienced violence use art as a means to express their emotions, manage stress, and rebuild their self-esteem. Through art therapy, we offer healing and hope to those in need.”
Shuhail further highlighted Ewaa’s mission, stating, “Our goal is to build a cohesive society that embraces its members and changes perceptions of violence”.
The conference programme included workshops, enlightening scientific sessions, compelling art exhibitions, and engaging networking opportunities. Over 20 distinguished speakers are slated to share their insights and experiences while an estimated 500 attendees, including professionals, researchers, educators, and art enthusiasts, are expected to participate for a shared pursuit.
The Art Therapy Conference offered a wealth of engaging sessions featuring distinguished global and regional speakers, who delved deep into various modalities, exploring a range of topics.
Art therapy intervention for trauma
These sessions also included intensive art therapy intervention for trauma, the role of therapeutic art, digital art therapy’s potential for healing and empowerment among survivors of abuse and violence, and the connection between art therapy and the subconscious mind.
There were also discussions on utilising art therapy to enhance self-expression and recovery, connecting art therapy with scientific perspectives, and exploring international viewpoints on art therapy research and practice.
Overall, the conference offered insights into a culturally adapted relational model that introduces the fundamentals of art therapy in the Arabian Gulf.
This segment focussed on assessing and treating unresolved and under-supported trauma. A virtual panel discussion also provided valuable insights from research in art therapies, while another presentation will delve into the Art Therapy Trauma Protocol in Community Mental Health, featuring a cross-cultural study.
There were four distinct hands-on workshops facilitated by international experts aimed to equip participants with the latest approaches and interventions in the field of art therapy.
Topics covered in these interactive sessions include “Healing Trauma with Guided Drawing,” “A Sensorimotor Approach to Body-Mapping,” “How Client-Led Spirituality in Art Psychotherapy Supports Trauma Work,” and “Transitions and Safety: Using Sensorimotor Art Therapy for Developing Creative Options to Support Clients.” Additionally, “Solution-Focused Brief Art Therapy (SFBAT)” will be explored to provide attendees with practical tools for their art therapy practice.
Accredited by the Department of Health, the engaging programme offered a valuable opportunity to earn Continuing Medical Education (CME) points for professionals in the field of art therapy. Art therapy is designed to unlock the creative process and empower individuals to explore self-expression, gain personal insights, and develop new coping skills. The creation and appreciation of art provide a unique channel to delve into emotions, foster self-awareness, cope with stress, boost self-esteem, and refine social skills.
Art therapists employ a range of techniques, including drawing, painting, sculpture, and collage. These methods are accessible to clients of all ages, enabling individuals who have experienced emotional trauma, physical violence, domestic abuse, anxiety, depression, and other psychological issues to express themselves creatively.
The Art Therapy Conference promises to be a pivotal event, and it will be hosted at ERTH Abu Dhabi, UAE.
For more information about the conference, visit https://arttherapyconference.ae