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Art as an Agent of Change: Why Art and not Art Therapy in "Art & Social Change" project?

posted 1 Aug 2018, 08:45 by Art & Social Change

By Gaetana Nuccia Cammara and Francesca Picone with Editing for English by Catherine West

Gaetana Nuccia Cammara, Social Worker at UOC Dependencies Pathology ASP Palermo, Photographer, Project Manager of the “Palermo: uno sguardo a fuoco” and "L'Arte che cura" projects, manager  for Ce.P.A.V. (Visual Arts Permanent Center) of the ASP of Palermo.

Francesca Picone, Psychiatrist, Analyst Psychologist, Manager for U.O.S. Sert ASP Palermo, Trainer, Lecturer and Supervisor at CIPA Institute for Southern Italy and Sicily, co-host of the Art laboratory within the CIPA School of Psychotherapy since 2009. Collaborator with Art and Psyche Working Group for Art and Psyche in Sicily, Syracuse Sept. 2015.

Art possesses a strong transformative value, inherent in the creative process, capable of producing a particular state of well-being, in the moment in which it is experienced.

During the process of artistic production, the inner images and the real and social dimension of oneself, meet and integrate, facilitating in the person the perception and the listening of the emotions and the internal sensations; this experience can generate new insights and can lead one to experiment with alternative actions to those already known.

The creative experience is characterized by the playful spirit. It is direct, immediate but effective at the same time. All this differs from Art Therapy which instead provides settings, times, methods and techniques, typical of a structured therapeutic path. Generally, the health worker who works in personal care services unwillingly accepts to participate in structured training courses for therapeutic purposes. This is why the Art and Social Change project chose to design training centered on a participatory methodological approach that involves the use of Art and not of Art therapy. We seek to activate in health workers a creative, unstructured that is freeing. Thereby it is non-therapeutic: it is a guide to favoring empowerment and re-motivation. Stimulating creative opportunities in such health workers can enhance their empathic capacity and emotional vocabulary, important protective factors that can produce personal well-being, strengthen motivation and prevent stress and demotivation in the workplace. Studies confirm a close link between improving the interpersonal skills of health workers and increasing the quality of life of patients and their families.

The training program of Art & Social Change is divided into several group workshops, in which, within a framework that involves the use of different channels of expression, and that starting from a theme proposed by the artist, allows each person to experience his or her own artistic product.

The preliminary research that the partnership has conducted on the state of the art within the countries involved in the project, show that this training experience appears particularly innovative in the health care sector.  The experiences, for addiction health workers in institutional settings are few or totally absent. This innovation is closely related to the concept of promoting a new way of training professionals through Art, which starting from the individual well-being of the individual professional reaches a transformation of the communication and relational modalities, with consequent improvement of the therapeutic relationship with the final beneficiaries (recoverists).