The miracles of “Art Therapy”

 

Psychology is one of my most favorite areas of interest and I often research about the different advancements in this field and explore them in depth. In the last few years, I have come across the term “Art Therapy” quite a lot of times and it truly intrigued me and thus, I plunged into this topic. After studying about it from various sources, I came to the conclusion that this therapy is extremely fascinating and beautiful in its essence. I believe, as more than half of us are suffering from varying forms of depression (whether we admit it or not) and are surrounded by paranoia and chaos, this therapy might help us on a whole new level. It is a promising area and from my point of view, needs to be expansively familiarized.

Introduction to Art Therapy:

Art Therapy, as the name suggests, is a form of therapy to deal with mental stresses, overcome the communication struggles and plays a vital role in self-analysis, which in other words, is also known as introspection. It helps people contemplate over their own selves, their personalities and helps in figuring out who they really are. This therapy makes use of colors and artistic techniques to counter these issues, which most of the times, act as a barrier in the flow of our daily life.

Origination of Art Therapy:

According to “About Health” Art Therapy is being used since thousands of years in multiple ways. People have often used arts to heal their patients. But it actually formulated as a form of therapy in mid of 20th century. Doctors instilled the idea of being creative in their patient’s mind, who was suffering from some sort of mental disorder, and they observed a positive change in them. This encouragement has now led to a complete branch of arts and psychology which is now being practiced all over the world and has changed the lives of thousands of people.

Benefits of Art Therapy:

According to Art Therapy Blog, the benefits are not only bound to people who are exceptionally creative with paper, brushes and colors. Such is the beauty of this therapy that you don’t necessarily have to be a talented artist. You use your own imagination and simply let it flow. You decipher the underlying meaning behind your piece of art; you try to understand your imagination and creativity and thus heal your soul. It works wonders in treating the patients undergoing counseling, rehabilitation and psychotherapy.

For a normal human being, who has fortunately no serious mental disorders, this therapy is a great way of self-exploration. It gives you an insight into your own personality (this is an entirely different topic and it would take ages but we still won’t completely cover it). It improves the mental health and colors plays an intriguing role in emotional uplifting and understanding of personality (color psychology is yet another branch). Art Therapy can be done in the form of a group and it opens new channels of friendly communication with fellow human beings.

For people with severe mental disorders, like schizophrenia or depression due to emotional abuse, a serious disease or PTSD, also immensely benefit from this form of therapy. They actually feel a control over their temperaments; their stress and tension vanishes and after playing around with colors, they feel lightened and their anxiety decreases significantly. Art Therapy has also helped numerous serious cases of bipolar and these people experience an effective result when they perform Art Therapy activities.

As stated by American Art Therapy Association, this form of therapy plays a vital role in building up problem solving skills and increasing the confidence level. It awakens the self-esteem of a person and indulges them into self-awareness. It helps a person develop both phsycially and mentally, by using their imagination and working on their creativity. It opens new channels of exploring interpersonal skills and polishing them.

Art Therapy in the West:

art therapy 3
Yahowto

Compared to the East, the West is taking Art Therapy very seriously. There are various research institutes who are working endlessly to instigate the importance of Art Therapy among common people. To get this knowledge in the hands of a random person browsing through the internet from one corner of the world, special Art Therapy blogs are updated daily and they give creative ideas for experiencing the miracles of Art Therapy within your own home and at your own ease.

Plenty of institutes have started certified programs regarding Art Therapy and many universities are providing graduate and post-graduate programs in this field. Following are some institutes working ardently for the promotion of Art Therapy:

  • Western Sydney University: They are offering Masters in Art Therapy (post grad program) which teaches various visual art forms for therapeutic purposes.
  • University of Central Lancashire (North West England): They are offering MA in Arts along with a Diploma and a Certificate program.
  • University of Chester (North West England): Similarly, this university offers MA in Arts Therapy along with a Diploma and a Certificate program.
  • Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles, California): This university offers Masters in Arts with specialization in Art Therapy.
  • West Liberty University (West Virginia): WLU offers a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Art Therapy. Their whole program is carefully structured keeping in mind the importance of Art Therapy in the future of medical sciences.

Art Therapy in Pakistan:

art therapy 2
Pakart

Unfortunately, like every other sub-field of psychology, Pakistan lags behind in Art Therapy education and recognition. Although people residing in principle cities like Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad etc are becoming more aware about Art Therapy, there is still a major lack of coverage in this regard. Following are few pakistani universities and organizations where Art Therapy is being endorsed and encouraged:

  • In Punjab University Department of Gender Studies, an informative lecture was organized on the topic of Drama and Art Therapy. The lecture was delivered by Asim Amjad who is an accomplished Art Therapist himself.
  • Art Therapy and Mental Health organization: This is an NGO, run by the aforementioned, Asim Amjad. They are striving hard to promote Art Therapy in Pakistan. This is a fabulous venture with amazing artwork on display.
  • Universal Women Children Art Therapy Association (UWCATA) & Pakistan Bai-ul-Maal (PBM) arranged a joint Art Therapy Workshop under the guidance of Samina Jamshed, for 3000 orphan kids of Pakistan Sweet Homes. The money generated from the exhibition of the artwork by these kids, went to each of the young artists who drew it.
  • Samina Jamshed was also the conductor of an Art Therapy Workshop for 70 school teachers of Convent institutes. They were lectured on tips and techniques to help the kids overcome their shyness and to bring out their inner creativity with the help of colors and art.
  • Ufaq Ehsan is a graduate of NCA, Lahore. She has been working as an Art Therapist for more than a decade now. She has organized various workshops in Pakistan, like Falah Foundation Art Therapy workshop (2005), Aman ka Rasta Art Workshop (2010) and has worked as an Art Therapist in various schools and hospitals of Lahore.
  • For people living in Karachi, T2F needs no introduction. They have also arranged workshops and artistic activities for children to introduce them to Art Therapy miracles. Creative Reflections: An Introduction to Art Therapy was one such workshop which was facilitated by Shazia Mohamad who is an Art Therapy graduate.

Future of Art Therapy in Pakistan:

Art Therapy is meant to stabilize the depressed minds. In the West, significant amount of people have gained knowledge about this particular therapy and are greatly benefitting from it. However, in Pakistan, people consider psychology itself, a taboo area of specialization. This issue should be seriously discussed on educational platforms. Also, mental disorders are increasing day by day, especially due to the sudden unfortunate events that happen in our country. Children and adults alike, are suffering terribly and they miserably go through these ordeals without expressing their troubles. Frequent Art Therapy Workshops and seminars will prove to be a positive action to fight off this negative energy. Similarly, like the West, our universities should start graduate or post-graduate programs in Art Therapy. Or simply, for starters, they should introduce certificate programs. People with an avid interest in arts should be urged to come forward, cooperate in building up a beneficial Art Therapy future in Pakistan and fully endorse its colorful miracles.

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Featured image:charterforcompassion.org.pk

 

 

 

War of depression

More than half of the population nowadays is suffering from the terrible mental ordeal called “depression.” According to science, depression is a product of stress and anxiety. It gives rise to various kinds of personality disorders. It changes the thinking of a human being. The power of depression makes it even more perilous than a common person can imagine. It physically changes the size of the brain. How dangerous this depression is!

Depression is like a monster that awakens within you at the oddest of times, when you least expect it to. It is a sadness that weighs you down. It is a feeling that temporarily but frequently darkens your world. You would want to enjoy a certain moment along with others, but this depression will make sure you do not enjoy it at all. This feeling makes it seem almost impossible for a person to live their life like they want to. It attacks a person in the most monstrous of ways. It makes you loathe, it makes you hate, it makes you force a smile you don’t want to show, it makes you cry at the weirdest of times, it makes you envy the successful and happy people and it makes you totally different from others.

The number of people prone to depression is constantly on the rise. There are a lot of reasons behind this gradual increase. Depression is not restricted to any age or race. It is a disease that can attack anyone; from the beggar sitting at the side of the road to the model posing for Vogue. What makes a person depressed? Sometimes it has something to do with material issues, like lack of money, or failing business. Or it may have something to do with a childhood or family trauma, loss of a loved one etc. Whatever the reason, the effects of depression can be irreparable at times.

Depression is a strong force that most often, drives you towards negativity, even suicide. But it is possible to fight it off and ultimately repel its attack. It won’t go away, but you can decrease its power and control over you. Each and every human being who suffers from depression carries this opposing power within them. But not everyone is fortunate enough to realize that they too, hold the strength to stand up to this dejected feeling. Most people feel that this depression would never let them function like a proper or normal human anymore. They feel that with the advent of this lingering melancholia in their soul, there is no glow of happiness left for them to experience. I say different.

The only enemy of depression is a genuine happy moment which is very obvious, so to speak. But how to find happiness when you can’t see happiness surrounding you anywhere? Happiness is not a huge mansion that you would suddenly catch gleaming under the morning sky. It is actually, the faint glow of light at the end of a pitch dark tunnel that you have been exploring since days. That faint glow is ephemeral though. As soon as you reach it, move out into it, it will vanish. But, it will open a new door for you, a new area to observe. It shows you a different path and it is a guiding luminescence. Such is the power of happiness! But what do half of the people suffering from depression perceive it as? They become seized by the sudden absence of the faint glow. They become so absorbed in that light that they don’t bother to see what it illuminated for them.

To fight the depression, surround yourself with what makes you smile. What is that activity that makes you forget what you are sad about? Is it arts? Is it music? Is it cooking or gardening? Is it simply reading books or magazines? Whatever it is, make the most out of this distraction. Turn that depressive feeling into a productive strength. Work on your skills whenever you feel a powerful emotion. Work on yourself, on your personality. Immerse yourself into something that would eventually fade depression into nothingness and blow it into that abyss you fear so much.

***

Image credit: cce-wakata.blogspot.com

Good relatives; endangered species

I write this post, brimming with terrible anger and piercing frustration, with the hope that you, for one, would re-evaluate your self and try not to be a “jerk of a relative.”

When was the last time our so called “blood relatives” left us alone at the time when we actually needed them and plunged into our personal matters with their elongated noses at the time we needed to be alone? I would say, every-bloody-time!

There is a reason why Pakistani relatives are hated so much among our younger generation. And gradually, through heinous experiences, I have realized why it is so common.

It is because of one simple reason: Our relatives, generally speaking, love comparing our life with another totally different person and point out to us what charms we are missing out on in our life. Actually, let me rephrase it: present to our parents what a loser of a child they own and how many people have reached mount Everest in the past few years whereas their own is stuck feeding off their own nibbles.

I don’t get it. Really? All this “career craze” has gone to unbelievable lengths. Enough with this shit!

And I have some particularly badass comebacks and arguments for you “relatives.” You just wait… or not. Keep reading.

Okay first of all, please clarify because we are a bit baffled here: Are you “relatives” following the Eastern side or the Western side? Like for one, you want everyone in your family to work in multinational companies with a huge name and what not (just like the WEST) and on the other hand, you’d grind your child’s ass if they chose their own life-partner, totally out of your community, family or whatever (just not like the WEST.) What exactly are you on about, eh? Set your priorities straight at least, would you?

Years back, your own grandparents didn’t mind when you ate off of their tables or rather dastarkhuwaans and your women didn’t work. There was no concept of being independent and there was happiness, even then. So why is it such a huge issue all of a sudden? Oh, what did you just utter? “It’s the 21st century,” did you say? Oh-kay. Then what about that time when your own daughter said she wanted to wear a gown and your almost killed her with your typical Medusa-glare? It wasn’t 21st century at that moment or what?

I mean, not every one wants to work in a multinational company, don’t you get it? There are people still in this world who would want a simple job, less money but true happiness in whatever they are doing. Not everyone treasures money, like you money-hungry freak! Do you want us to spell that out for you or you know what I’m trying to say because I don’t know, you’ll probably tell our parents we are crossing limits…? (which you sure as hell, cross very often)

You don’t know anything about anyone’s life. So stop right there. Stop judging. Stop telling others what to do. You often teach others to mind their own businesses, why not try practicing it yourself first?

Your mere “good intentions” can break someone’s heart. No, some people don’t want, what you call your”kind advice.” And that’s because you are not kind. You try to bring them down with your words. If someone has chosen ARTS as their field, how dare you tell them to “choose something sensible”? HOW DARE YOU? Who are you again? A mere relative, right? You are not that person’s brain or heart. You are definitely not the owner of their soul. You have absolutely no right to tell them what they should do with their lives. You can’t dictate anyone’s life.

Keep your experiences to yourself. It doesn’t matter if you are aged over 80 and have all the maturity in this world stuffed in your brain, if you break someone’s heart or bring them down, or try to create any sort of dispute when you clearly know it’ll cause trouble of some kind in that person’s life, you definitely are in trouble. It doesn’t do good taking advantage of your age, dictating everyone’s life, making “better decisions” for other people when they clearly despise it and expecting a leap into the Heaven. No sir/madam. That is not how it works. Your niyyat matters no doubt, but your words matter more. At least have the decency to explain your point in a way that is not mocking.

Every person is different, remember that. Every person has a story you can never imagine. We all hide our demons. We all smile like nothing’s wrong but we all have terrible stories, waiting to be heard or forgotten. We all have experiences that mold us into a person who is standing in front of the mirror. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone learns. To err is human, isn’t it? Let everyone learn on their own accord. Let people experience what they want. They can always change, whenever they want to. Sometimes, your niceness can tear someone apart. One mocking sentence, one jeering remark at their career choice and you can destroy someone’s peaceful life. You would leave their place, satisfied, thinking you have done a good job, helping others. When in reality, you have accidentally thrown a burning matchstick near a haystack in a wooden hut and now gradually, it will all burn into ashes. You don’t realize that, do you?

There are tons of people in this world, who have either chosen the wrong career, or the wrong life partner and now, even if they have parted their ways with that apparent mistake, it lives with them. It moves with them. It’s a part of their shadow. Wherever they go, their mistakes will be dug up, so often that they decide to stay within the confinements of their home, where they feel the safest. Don’t be so harsh that you drive such people into madness. There’s a limit to everything.

Yes, they chose a wrong life-partner. Yes, they chose the wrong career and are not pursuing it anymore. So what? Respect their decisions, would you? Stop asking “WHY did that happen?” Instead, start asking “HOW do you want me to help you now?” That, my dears, would earn you loads of fans.

What may seem like a useless life to you, might actually be way better than yours. You should keep that in mind. Also, learn to realize when your opinion is required. It’ll definitely make the path to Heaven much easier for you, trust me.

A typical desi girl struggles to look ‘perfect’

Hey, ya’all! I know, I know, I haven’t posted anything since a week and you all must be missing me like hell (who misses hell, though? This phrase is so stupid). Any way, the other night, as I was lying on my bed, coaxing my brain to stop thinking and let me sleep, I thought of the girls around the world, trying their very best to look perfect at different occasions. Jokes aside, it’s a real struggle for them. Nah, boys can NEVER understand that. God knows, how much money we girls spend on cosmetics and parlor stuff, and just imagine the broken heart of a girl who spends a zillion on her beauty and even then, she gets a simple “you look nice” (Believe me, to her, it means you’re just OK). So, listen up, desi kurriyo’n. You want to look perfect and hide your natural looks? You want to get rid of your charming dark color? You want to mess with nature? Okay then, read these tips, I’ve simply gathered the most important things, to start off with, which we usually come across on our television screens.

  • Your face is the most important. Wash it with ‘Dove’, takay log baar baar apke moun pr haath pheryn aur tb bhi unka smoothness se dil na bharay.
  • You need to have clean hands. For that, wash your hands with ‘Safeguard‘, takay log ap se bila jhijhak haath milaayen aur unki mamma bhi kuch na keh sakayn.
  • Never underestimate the power of zarra sa ‘Lux‘. Wash your body thoroughly with this soap. Ah, the different aromas…
  • And now the feet. Um, you know what? Wash your feet with all three of them, because *cough*I’veSeenWomenWithFeetBlacker&DirtierThanTheFeetOfThePeopleWhoWorkInMines*cough*
  • When it comes to your hair, first wash them with ‘Head ‘n’ Shoulders‘ to get rid of all the snowflakes. If you like a silky touch, finally, use ‘Sunsilk‘. If you like shiny hair, use ‘Pantene‘. And if you want a professional to take care of your hair, leave it to ‘Garnier.’ Such varieties, much wows.
  • Who can forget the beloved ‘Fair & Lovely‘, count on it to give your skin a fair treatment and fight with the ruddy melanoytes till their last breath! (Oh yeah, talk about being efficient) Also, and this is for all the ladies out there who are 50+ and want to look 16 again, rely on ‘Ponds‘ age miracle to make you feel young once more! *sigh*
  • If you have a lot of body hair, and you’re ashamed of your looking like a fucking gorrilla, get yourself super-hot-waxed! The thing is, ‘Veet‘ only works on smooth skin. It’ll give you a soft touch and wouldn’t let your man spare a second to scratch himself even if he is bloody itchy in the place which-must-not-be-named.
  • If you think you’re worth everything great in this world and you’re the best and bla bla, ‘L’oreal Paris‘ is for you. Apply all their stuff on your face, nails, feet, eyes, lips etc and just wait for the magic. Although, me bata doun apko, itna kuch khareedny k baad apke paas date pr janay k paisay nahi bachaingy.
  • Finally, don’t ever, EVER, forget to apply ‘Revlon‘ deodorant otherwise things might get a bit nasty for you and him. You might need to use 2 bottles of an exquisite perfume and carry an extra with you, specially if you’re living in Karachi because bari kutta garmi hoti hai.

AND THAT’S IT! Isn’t it fucking easy or what? Hah. Okay, on a serious note. Really girls, all this just to look better? I swear, you look much more beautiful without using all this shit. But yeah, waxing is necessary. And clean feet. Honestly. Stop flaunting money on these over-precious cosmetics. Stick to your budget and don’t make the lives of your dads, brothers and HIMs more difficult (than it already is, huhu). You’re all beautiful in your own ways. Even dark has a certain charm which the fair can never have. God made you special in your own way. Cherish your looks and please desi girls, stop comparing yourself with ferangi women (western women, that is). You’re more beautiful than those ladies with translucent skins, I mean where’s the attraction in that? Remember, beauty freaks, you look your best when you look natural. Mark my words. Cheers!

Can’t handle kids? Don’t make one!

A good and keen observation can take you a long way and teach you things nobody would ever bother to tell you.
Kids are very observant. But of course, they observe only what they like to observe. For example, they’ll observe a cartoon series and maybe, try to implement in on themselves or others around them. Or, they’ll observe their family issues and try to figure out why their family is always so tensed up. At these moments, their mind works furiously over these questions and new queries keep popping up. They want to find answers but how, that’s the real question.
Kids are fascinating and I’ve always loved those kids who have loads of things to discuss, are jolly and are always questioning. True, sometimes people get irritated but they make the mistake of displaying their irritation on their face or verbally expressing it. Which obviously, starts turning the child’s thinking processes to find other ways to search for their answers.
This, of course, is a big question mark on the ability of the parents. It is their responsibility to quench their thirst. Not every question has to be answered but it’s very easy to feed them something else of their interest and satisfy them. Only the clever and good parents know how to handle their child and what answers to give him/her. Sad to say, it’s pretty rare.
I don’t understand sometimes, why some parents even bother to burden themselves with a child (or more) when they don’t even know how to raise them up. They don’t realize how much harmful that is for the society on the whole and even for their own reputation. Blaming the child is easy for your mistakes but you can’t fool the society and the good people out there. Their harshness at home with their kid, can lead to dangerous molding of his/her thoughts into something that’s full of hate and detest for parents or adults, on the whole and it is an alarming situation. So if someone isn’t ready to bear a child’s antics and the way his/her mind works, they shouldn’t even bring them in this world. Because one way or another, this is, ultimate cruelty.

3 questions do the trick, to know them real quick!

three

The tips and tricks of playing with mind are a part of psychological studies. But what I believe is, that no matter which field you belong to, either you’re a doctor, or an engineer or some artist, you should be aware of these tricks and apply them in your daily routines. They’ll make your life a little easier, if not entirely, and can help you achieve your targets with better results.

Over the time, I have met new people via internet or in real life and you must’ve too. The first word that pops up in your mind, whenever you meet a new person, is stranger. And living in this cursed & cruel society, it is obviously a hugely important task to determine if a person is worth trusting or not and whether you should make further interactions with them in future, or not. Well of course, people can be great at hiding their true selves, but there are some trick questions that can give you a pretty good insight about a personality and can show you a rough outline of their minds and hearts.

Before I tell you those questions, I want you to understand that I give you no 100% guarantees that whatever they answer can give you a vague image of that person because, it obviously depends on your psychological interpretations too. Secondly, I came up with these questions when once, a friend asked me what would be those three questions I’d ask someone to make a rough sketch in my mind about his/her personality. I thought about it for a few minutes, I asked those questions and I used them over the time and I’ve certainly found it easy to understand people after that.

Q1: Who are you closest to, the most, in your life and why?

A very basic question, which can give you a clear picture about their family background. The most acceptable answers would be father, mother, siblings, or even grandparents. But if a person says they’re close to some uncle/aunt or a childhood friend, then this can arise a few questions. It means they weren’t close to their family and those who aren’t close to their family have a disturbed mind because they face a tough time at home. You’re also asking them “why”, which they might or might not answer. Either way, you’ll get to know that they have a rough family history. You’d have to be a bit cautious with such people. They might be aggressive or easily offended, sensitive, hardworking and many a times, they are independent.

Q2: Do you have any regrets? If yes, what are they and how’d you rectify them?

This may seem like a personal opinion, but I believe each and every one of us has some regrets in our lives. It can be something as tiny as spending our savings on a crappy guitar or  something as grave and serious as choosing the wrong life-partner. Anyway, this question gives you a vague idea about their darkest secrets. They might regret the career they’ve chosen, or they might regret not ditching the person who gave them a hard time. The next question, how they’d rectify their mistake, gives you a clear picture of how they’d cope with difficulty, their problem solving skills, or their power to face hard-ships or finding solutions. They might just shrug and say never thought about it, which might raise new questions.

Q3: Love or money?

The most easiest way to learn if a person is your type or not. If you’re romantic, or you value friendships, relationships or any sort of acquaintanceship more than money, then you’d better talk to those who choose love. Because they’d have more in common with your personality. Such people are highly sensitive, love hungry, emotional, they might be courageous or they might be very fragile, they’ll usually be the people you can easily trust. And if they choose money, you might find them a bit intimidating, determined, materialistic, goal oriented, strategic, power hungry and they’ll seldom value emotions.

If you find these questions useful, do try them out, the next time you meet someone new. They might be great ice-breakers or help you break down iron walls guarding a person. Heh. And let me know what your views are. Cheers! 🙂

P.S: Be careful who you are asking these questions from. Sometimes, people might find it offending that you’re asking them personal questions. So make sure they are easy about it. If not, try to take them in your confidence first.

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Image credits: http://s3.amazonaws.com/kajabi-media/assets/projects/31135/assets_bag/original/QuestionMarks.jpg?1422931310

Care is in the air, but are you aware?

Maybe, they do care about you. But, they’re afraid to make it obvious and don’t dare to make their move. You know why? Because you’re already surrounded by trillions of others, who are pretending that they care about you. And those pretentious ones, somehow, make those who truly care about you, feel unwanted and a waste. And why not? You’re already happy with the ones you have around yourself, you’re drowned in their flattery, you’re blinded by their fake smiles, so yes, the ones who do care about you truly, feel that you’re satisfied and thus, stay away from you. They can’t bear to look at you among the pseudo-adorers but they are afraid to show you their reality, at the same time. They are afraid you’d take them wrong and annihilate every chance they’ve, to be a part of your life and to make it better in some way, by throwing just one cold glance in their direction.
And they are right, in doing so.