For centuries art has been used as a tool by individuals to express their complex thoughts and feelings which can be difficult to express in words. And for the past few years, art has been used medically by therapists to tackle many mental health issues – commonly referred to as art therapy.
Drawing, painting and experimenting with colors followed by some fun team building exercises is what makes for a perfect art therapy session. And Dubai-based Amrita Dhillon’s art therapy workshop was no different. With separate art stations armed with brushes, organic paints and sheets of canvas, the therapy involved the Hauschka technique, passed down and refined by therapists over generations. The canvas consisted of a white sheet placed on a wet base using the wet-on-wet art method. The two hour session provided an opportunity to create the nuances of our inner calling and by the end of the session the place was filled with a variety of paintings depicting individual emotions through shades of yellows, blues , reds and many Suite.
Held at the centrally located Abhyasa Holistic Health and Education Center in Santacruz, the specious setting with a central wood-floored studio space provided a great opportunity to immerse ourselves in the painting process. Once our artwork was ready, for a surprise, we had a one-on-one session with Amrita revealing the mysteries behind our artwork, followed by advice and some nuggets of wisdom. Without a doubt, it was an exploration for most attendees since many of us have never picked up a paintbrush after school. While it was surprising to see the depth of individual artistic ability, it also provided an opportunity to cut ourselves off from the outside world during the time we practiced our art.
“I’m not surprised. I believe that everyone has the potential to create as an artist. In fact, people who do not consider themselves artists come to the session without preconceived ideas and can express themselves perfectly. “, explained Amrita when, out of curiosity, we asked her if she expected these results from all amateur participants. She also clarified that during the art therapy process, emotions and feelings matter more than a technique. “We do not worry about technique with participants, no one is better than the other. We work largely in the sphere of feelings and less in the sphere of thought, and believe in the power of method”, she insists.
While the workshop left us with a calmer mind, our eyes were hooked on the space which offered warm and pleasant vibes. Therapy rooms, a consultation space with soothing greenery balanced with light wood colors, and a lovely beer garden made us want to order our favorite cup of tea while we enjoyed our solitude with the rain outside. ‘outside.
“The space is designed with the idea of introducing Mumbai and its people to new and existing modules, tools, therapies, events and workshops. I hope this will help people gain new perspectives and insights into their relationship with themselves and their environment,” says Varaz Printer, founder of Abhyasa, Qigong and strength training practitioner and restorative movement trainer. We learn that Varaz has personally experienced the activity before adding it to the list of experiments from his studio.
Photo credit: Trupti Arekar