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The art of empowering.

Summary: CAIRO -- Painter and interior designer Marwa Ali, who has also had training in psychotherapy, is using her skills to help people with difficult problems to make the right decisions.

"I'm not just concerned about earning enough money to survive, as I also want to help other people find solutions," Marwa Aly told the Egyptian Mail in an interview.

Marwa, an Applied Arts graduate, has completed 2-year post-graduate studies in General Education Diploma and Psychological Counseling at Cairo University in 2006.

While studying for her diploma, she explored many fields such as psychotherapy, and child and adult psychology, allowing her to specialise in the field of art therapy.

Art allows her clients to express themselves easily. This in turn allows the artist to get through to the client and diagnose his problem.

"Art therapy helps the artist gain the client's trust, without the latter being forced to confess secrets he doesn't want to confess," explained art therapist and counselor Marwa, who hopes that all her clients get back on the right track.

"During the art therapy sessions, I don't give the client advice, but I do try to get him to look at all the possibilities and come up with the solution himself."

This young, motivated artist describes art therapy as a tool enabling you to know others' feelings and emotions, reflected on paper, in patterns, drawings or paintings.

The definition of art therapy varies according to different international schools.

The website of the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT) says: "Art therapy may be provided for groups, or for individuals, depending on clients' needs. It is not a recreational activity or an art lesson, although the sessions can be enjoyable."

Clients who use art therapy may have a wide range of difficulties, disabilities or diagnoses, such as emotional, behavioural or mental health problems, learning or physical disabilities, life-limiting conditions, brain injury or neurological conditions and physical illness.

The American Art Therapy Association describes it this way: "[A]rt therapy is the therapeutic use of art making, within a professional relationship, by people who experience illness, trauma or challenges in living, and by people who seek personal development."

According to the American definition, the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behaviour, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight.

Art therapy integrates the fields of human development, visual art (drawing, painting, sculpture and other art forms), and the creative process with counselling and psychotherapy models.

Marwa has used art therapy to help both children and adults.

In Egypt, people who suffer from depression, lack of self-confidence, lack of optimism, feelings of failure and hesitancy rarely know how to deal with all of this.

According to Marwa, art therapy has helped many mothers deal with their children's physiological problems.

"I recently had a session with a little boy, who spent the whole time drawing eyes. I realised that he was expressing his wish that his father weren't blind, " she added.

Another child drew a picture of her family; her mother was very small, her father very big.

In the case of the second child, the drawing showed that her mother was very weak and the girl didn't obey her.

"Her mother was a housewife and her father was always out at work, and their daughter missed him because she hardly ever saw him, " added Marwa.

Painting helps adults gain the trust of children. The lines, colours and proportions are all tools that help the art therapist analyse his or her clients and discover their real character.

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Publication:The Egyptian Gazette (Cairo, Egypt)
Date:Jul 26, 2011
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