CAIRO - 23 January 2023: Egyptian universities have lately started to shed light on art therapy, which is one of the most recent therapeutic methods in the world. Although not new, art therapy has just begun to spread in Egypt.
The first Egyptian university to delve into this field was Helwan University, which announced providing a diploma in art therapy, setting several conditions for those who wish to enroll in it.
What is art therapy?
• According to the Art Therapy Association of America, this kind of therapy uses nonverbal communication to express feelings and thoughts.
• The art therapist determines appropriate artistic techniques to reflect the patient's emotional state, encouraging the patient to form a metaphorical and symbolic language that rebuilds his personality.
• Art therapy supports the belief that everyone has the ability to express themselves better.
• The therapeutic process itself is more significant than the end result, as the therapist focuses on the patient's therapeutic requirements for expression rather than the merits of the art therapy itself.
• Art therapy procedures include six stages: exploration, relationship building, inner emotional expression, self-awareness, interpersonal relationships, and the person's place in his environment.
Art psychotherapist and President of the Afro-Asian Association of Art Therapists Yasmine Filali said art therapy is a type of integrative therapy equivalent to the third wave of psychotherapy.
In statements to Sky News Arabia, Filali indicated that art therapy has been randomly practiced in Egypt for a long time, without noticing that it is a type of psychological treatment. "All expressive arts that help a person better express themselves are used in treatment," she added.
Art Therapy at 57357 Hospital
57357 first introduced the latest art therapy methods to alleviate the suffering of the patients in 2015. Art therapist Mofeed Issa explains that these attempts to apply art therapy at the hospital grew more serious, and 57357 established an art therapy department, which later transformed into a center for artistic creativity.
“We adopted art therapy to better the psychological state of the children, and the department transformed from a small space inside the hospital into a center for artistic creativity, where we rely on all kinds of arts, not just two or three types.”
Issa notes that art therapy within the Artistic Creativity Center at 57357 depends on rehabilitating the children behaviorally and psychologically, in addition to rehabilitating mothers, who sometimes struggle with the effect of chemotherapy on the children's behavior.
The Artistic Creativity Center also deals with children with impaired sight through colors, which modifies their behavior. This is in addition to using laughter therapy and story therapy.
Many studies indicate that colors have a significant impact on the lives of individuals, which goes beyond the visual experience. Colors affect the brain; hence they equally affect the functions of the body and the development of creativity, productivity and learning of the brain.
A 1942 study revealed that colors had positive as well as negative effects on a patient's heart rate and response to objects, and in 1957, red was found to cause stimulating effects on nervous system functions compared to blue, according to the color combinations chosen by humans. Accordingly, a bridge in London was painted blue in an attempt to reduce the number of suicides from it.
Issa confirms that the rate of interaction and results reached 89 percent, and the greater the number of art therapy sessions, the higher the interaction. "Children keep coming back to the center after their recovery," he stressed.
Despite this success, the center is currently facing a number of crises, most notably a financial one that comes in light of the soaring prices of the materials used with children.
Color therapy through the ages
Color therapy has been around for thousands of years; since the ancient Egyptians, who used sunlight and colors for healing, and the ancient Chinese and Greeks, who used stones and dyes in color healing shelters.
The course of color therapy was developed by the prominent philosopher and physician Ibn Sina in 980 AD, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Ibn Sina linked colors to body temperatures and physical conditions. He was the first to note that a person who is bleeding should not look at the color red, but instead should be exposed to blue to prevent the bleeding.
Danish physicist Nils Rybjerg Finsen was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1903 for his use of white light in treating diseases of the brain.