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Times of India
31 January 2012
Pune India

The integration of art-based therapies with treatment methodologies as offered by clinical psychologists can work well with people and is an area that needs to be explored further, said experts during the 38th national annual conference of the Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists on Saturday. Organised by the department of behavioral sciences and mental health of the Sahyadri Hospitals, the three-day conference concluded at Yashada on Sunday.

Two art forms — dance and group drumming — were shown to have a positive impact in overcoming certain mental disorders and mental states in two case studies presented during the conference.

‘Art-Based Therapies Help Improve Mental Health’

“Art-based therapies would have a greater role to play in clinical psychology in the coming years,” said Varun Venkit, who is doing a research on integrating science and research methodology with art. Venkit presented a case study on changes during and after a group drumming programme held for about 70 rehabilitated commercial sex workers (CSWs) who participated in eight sessions of group drumming over two months in Mumbai.

“In most cases, psychological conditions of the CSWs are not taken into account the way it should be and that creates a hurdle in their rehabilitation,” Venkit said.

A specially designed group drumming programme using Arthur Hull’s group drumming techniques and based on psychology and neuro-linguistic processing principles was introduced. Preand post-programme interviews, observation checklists, drumming experience feedback forms were created and were used to collect data. The results of the study were found to have brought progressive and positive changes on the group level, especially in the parameters of relaxation, stress reduction, group cohesiveness, confidence, motivation and attention, Venkit said.

“Group drumming can be a potential group therapy. Further research and practice using this can be pivotal in building rehabilitation programmes for groups with special needs,” said Venkit.

In the second case study, Maithily Bhupatkar, a Bharatnatyam dancer by profession, who currently leads the Hrishikesh Centre of Contemporary Dance’s community project — Dance for Parkinson’s Disease — initiated in collaboration with the Sancheti Hospital, Pune, presented the systematic use of dance therapy for Parkinson’s patients, which is slowly yet steadily getting the desired results. “The mental trauma that Parkinson’s patients undergo due to its symptoms decreases their self confidence, especially if they are over 50 years of age. Sequential movements in smaller steps just like the dancers are primarily used to treat them through dance therapy,” Bhupatkar said.

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