Five Centres In India that Bring Mental Health to The Fore Using Art Therapy

Image Source: Abhyaantar
Image Source: Abhyaantar

Mental health has always been an important part of the dialogue here at Homegrown. With India recently being declared as the most depressed country in the world, we can all agree that it’s time to break the stigma around mental health and talk about getting help.

In India, reaching out for psychotherapy or any sort of professional help to deal with a mental illness is treated as somewhat of a taboo. It has to be done in a great hush-hush, always careful not to leave footsteps around. The first step forward for India is normalizing not only mental illnesses, but also the idea of getting professional therapy. Here’s where we have a twist for you: did you know there are forms of therapy other than psychotherapy?

Art therapy is one such form of therapy. As you might have guessed from the name, Art Therapy is founded on the belief that self-expression through artistic creation has therapeutic value. A lot of us find many forms of art like drawing, painting, colouring relaxing. Art Therapy takes this a smidge forward and uses these methods of self-expression as a way to develop a psychological understanding of a patient.

There are two things that you need to know about Art Therapy; one, that it is a way of simply letting go and creating art without worrying about its aesthetic quality, and two – that Art Therapy is a way for therapists to establish a connection between the piece of art a patient makes and his inner self. As Cathy Malchoidi writes in her book The Art Therapy Sourcebook, “In most art therapy sessions, the focus is on your inner experience—your feelings, perceptions, and imagination. While art therapy may involve learning skills or art techniques, the emphasis is generally first on developing and expressing images that come from inside the person, rather than those he or she sees in the outside world”.

In a regular Art Therapy session, you may be asked to scribble on a blackboard with your eyes closed, or make a clay sculpture of a person in your life. There are hundreds of ways that creativity can heal, and art therapy explores all of them. Sounds like something that you’d be interested in? Here’s a list of five counseling centres across India that offer Art Therapy.

I. Anantaraa Arts-Based Therapy

Location: Andheri West, Mumbai.

Anantaraa offers a year-long Arts-Based Therapy course. This course uses visual art as an experiential form of therapy, as a way for a person to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. Additionally, their course also involved drama, theatre and music, making it an all-round experience. Admissions for the 2019-20 batch are open now!

II. Sankalpa

Location: Auroville, Pondicherry

Sankalpa provides art therapy and community art programs, bridging art and intention ​
​as tools for insight, growth, empowerment, connection and healing. In an Art Therapy session at Sankalpa, the clients are encouraged to create without the judgement of their own art or that of others. They offer therapy sessions for individuals as well as groups. In fact, you can also volunteer or intern At Sankalpa! Just fill out a form here.

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III. Blissful Mind Therapy Centre

Location: Cuffeparade, Mumbai

Among many other forms of therapy, Blissful Mind Therapy Centre in Mumbai offers Expressive Arts Therapy. This course focuses on expression, imagination, active participation and mind-body connection. Blissful Mind offers art therapy for children, individuals and families.

IV. Arth Counselling and Arts Based Therapy

Location: Andheri West, Mumbai

At Arth, Dr. Nivedita Challil conducts professional Art-Based Therapy. With this sort of therapy, they hope to help individuals work on personal goals related to growth and wellness, sexuality and identity, coping with an illness or care-giving, dealing with conflict and related issues. Be sure to make a prior appointment with Arth for an arts therapy session here.

V. Abhyaantar Healing Arts

Location: New Delhi

Abhyaantar works towards helping individuals and groups connect with their own as well as others’ inner source and unravel their authentic selves. Based in he principles and techniques of Expressive Arts Therapy (EAT), the arts therapy session at Abhyaantar used a combination of visual art, dance, drama and creative writing to enable their clients to explore and fully express themselves.

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The best thing about Arts Therapy? While you can avail the services of these counselling centres at your convenience, this is a form of therapy that can always be done at home, too. Art has always been used as form of self-expression. Now, you can use it as a from of exploring yourself, of finding an inner connection and of healing.

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