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.

***

Featured image:charterforcompassion.org.pk

 

 

 

A crushed heart of gold

(This poem was in my drafts since months and I have no idea why I never shared it here. I must say though, before any negative criticism makes its way into the comments section, that I am NOT a poet. Poetry has never been my forte, admittedly, but I did try writing a few poems in the last two years, mainly due to the urge to try out something different and experiment with my writing.)

***

He gave her a look, so deeply cold,

Eliminating memories, all them old,

A look that said, O girl behold,

To lords of evil, my soul is sold,

That gaze she tried so hard to hold,

Silently, watching his moods that rolled,

His anger paused itself to mould,

Into a hatred, so wild, so crushing,

Tearing apart, that heart of gold.

***

 

Image credits: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/9KHa_nSeVfE/maxresdefault.jpg

Penne Pasta With Meat Sauce

WP_20151124_005_e.jpg

 

Out of every 10 people, at least 15 love eating pasta. (My math isn’t that weak, I totally made that up, thank you) The day I made this pasta, two of my uncles came to visit us. My mom asked me if I wanted to serve this dish too and I just couldn’t resist showing off a tad bit (Hey, who doesn’t like appreciation?) And so, when they ate their first bite, they were both pretty impressed. Huhu, scored!

Anyways, one of my uncles commented, “This is a pretty simple recipe, you just added pasta to already cooked meat from the last night or something,” and that was enough. I said, “Hello? I spent like 15 minutes making this meat sauce… how could you?” And then I realized he was ONLY kidding. Bad jokes, ugh!

Well honestly, it is a pretty simple and finger licking good recipe. If you love herbs and spices like I do, you’ll definitely give this a try and show off your cooking skills, like I did.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup penne pasta
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 5 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (available in the markets)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 pound minced beef (Add garlic/ginger paste, pinch of salt, chili powder prior to cooking)

Instructions:

  • Boil the pasta according to the instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large skillet heat the oil. Add the Italian seasoning, chopped onion and red pepper flakes and fry until the onion has softened.
  • Add chopped garlic, salt and pepper and cook until you smell the aroma of garlic. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Heat a pan and cook the beef until it is brown.
  • Add the cooked meat to the pan with the seasoning.
  • Add the sugar and tomato paste and cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Now it’s time to adjust the seasonings of your sauce. You can increase the amount of tomato paste if you find it a little dry. Add salt and pepper. Add more sugar if you find it a bit too sour.
  • Finally add the pasta and sprinkle with parsley.

Do try this recipe and let me know if you liked it or not. I love feedback, yo!

Vinegar/Onion Flavored Chips and KFC Style Chicken Wings

WP_20151126_002_e
                                                        Mouthwatering… Isn’t it?

One fine day, I WAS DYING TO EAT KFC CHICKEN and I had no idea how to sate these random intense hunger cravings. (Like sheesh, give me a break tummy!)

But seriously, at that moment I thought I definitely needed to learn how to cook KFC style chicken pieces myself because one thing I was sure about: if I got my hands on that perfect recipe, I could stop worrying my a** over being broke and not being able to quieten the growling hunger.

And so my hunt for the recipe began.

It wasn’t much of a hunt to be honest, and after a bit of research, I finally got the hang of it. Just a few special ingredients and you’ve cooked for yourself, exactly the same chicken, ABSOLUTELY FREE!

And now let me tell you why I cooked these vinegar and onion chips.

Because I LOVE CHIPS! Who doesn’t, for God’s sake! I love making flavored chips and I wanted to try it the moment I bought “a certain ingredient.” *winks*

Okay, enough of the background stories. Let’s get back to food business, shall we?

Ingredients for KFC Chicken:

  • 8 chicken wings (cleaned & washed)
  • 50 gm all purpose flour
  • 50 gm bread crumbs
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 2 tbsp curd
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 green chili (cut these into the tiniest pieces possible)
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil leaves
  • 1 tsp oregano (powdered)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)

Instructions:

  • Wash the chicken and let the water drain from it.
  • In a medium sized bowl, mix curd, egg, 1/2 tsp chili powder and salt.
  • Marinate the chicken wings in this mixture for 4 to 5 hours.
  • In a another large bowl, add the flour, green chili, pepper, basil leaves, oregano, onion powder, ginger powder, garlic powder and the rest of the chili powder.
  • Cover the chicken wings well with this spicy mix and then with the bread crumbs.
  • In a large frying pan, add enough oil to grease the base. I prefer not to deep fry it and rather just fry it. If you want to deep fry the chicken, adjust the amount of oil.
  • Fry the chicken until it is crispy and golden brown.
  • EAT IT !!!

NOOOO WAIT.

Let’s cook the chips now. How can you even THINK of enjoying this delicious chicken without chips? Just hide the chicken somewhere for a while; the fragrance is sure to attract a lot of people. Huhu.

Ingredients for Vinegar/Onion flavored Chips:

  • Potatoes (Duh!)
  • Vinegar
  • Onion powder (this is the ingredient I was winking about, remember? No? Fish memory!)
  • Salt

Instructions:

  • Slice the potatoes into the thinnest round shape possible. It is pretty easy to do if you use a chopping board and a sharp knife (just like your tongue, heh!) You can keep the skin if you want.
  • In a large frying pan, heat oil. Like I said before, I prefer using the least amount of oil and it does no harm to the dish being cooked, trust me.
  • Fry the potatoes till they are golden brown.
  • Add the salt, vinegar and onion powder seasoning to the chips right after you take them out on a paper to dry. That way, the flavor will be absorbed.
  • What are you waiting for? EEEAAAAATTTT!!!

This is probably the best weather to try out these dishes. Dryness makes it more crunchy. Also, I have learned from my experience that garlic, onion and ginger powder are some ingredients you should always have in your kitchen. You can add them to ANYTHING for an excellent flavor.

Please do let me know when you try out these recipes. I love knowing if you enjoyed them or you wanted to push me down a cliff for wasting your time. Haha.

 

Guiding luminescence

luminescence

I fear the unknown, nor the unseen,

I only fear the unceasing evanescence,

Of the hopes & dreams, that I daily weave,

Each thread strengthening, my inner sense,

Turning the darkest demons, with every stitch,

To an imperishable ray of fluorescence,

It shall guide me, through the labyrinth,

Of life, from adolescence to senescence.

~~~

Image credits: http://www.ctvnews.ca/polopoly_fs/1.2201801.1421975854!/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_620/image.jpg

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.

Rant # 4

I’ve been coming across many homosexuality related blogs lately and honestly I believe it’s high time people start taking this issue seriously.

Remember this: nobody has any right, to point their fingers at a person who is homosexual and there is no need to demean them in front of public or to feel embarrassed because of this issue. People, just try to be a little realistic, this is 21st century, if you can watch frigging without-dupatta, half naked women/men on tv, this is just as normal then. So quit being such bigots. You are a Muslim, act like one. Instead of passing derogatory remarks at them, try to come up with a solution for this. Being “incomplete” Muslims, which means having inadequate religious knowledge, the only solution we common people have is to kill them, burn them alive etc. Seriously? I’m sure you don’t even know the 6th kalma, so just freaking shut your mouth and leave it for the actual Muslim scholars to decide what their fate should be. Which now, brings me to the other huge problem: Why haven’t the Muslim scholars taken this matter seriously as yet? These people are dying, they need religious guidance at the moment. They need an answer. Whatever the Quran or religion says in this regard, it’s about time scholars bring it out for the public. Do these scholars have any solution for this:

http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/26400/life-as-faiq-by-day-aashi-by-night/

OR this:

http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/26741/if-you-are-gay-and-muslim-change-your-sexual-orientation/

Whatever the verdict is, just tell the people, specially the homosexuals. If there is no place in Islam for them, just tell them and it’s over then. But at least stop the brutality they are facing by their families and others. This is inhumane & every good Muslim should condemn brutality. I won’t speak in favor of their “marriages” because in Quran, Allah has strongly pronounced judgement against them. But, at the same time, I would say that they shouldn’t be simply killed in cold blood or brutally burnt alive.

This matter calls for a fatwa & ulema should come up with one before it’s too late.