Art therapy is used with Hagar clients as it has a number of benefits. It allows clients to communicate what is sometimes difficult to put into words and manage difficult emotions and circumstances.
Art therapy can also help clients feel understood, gain skills, provide a sense of achievement and it allows clients a safe outlet for feelings such as fear, guilt, pain and anger. Art therapy is particularly useful in managing stress, anxiety, depression, injury and coming into terms with traumatic events.
Nhi, who is a Hagar Vietnam client in the Recovery Centre has been receiving Art Therapy as part of her healing process. Nhi is a survivor of domestic violence and is at Hagar with her two children who were sexually abused by their father. During her therapy, Nhi coloured in a picture and explains in her own words how she used colour to represent aspects of her life.
The client said:
I want to share with you about why I chose this picture to work with. The half-faced girl in this picture is just like me who is now hiding in Hagar’s shelter. A single pink line goes from her eye along the face symbolizes happiness – though not much, I still think there is happiness in my life because I have my family. A large upper and lower part of the face is green because that’s the color of rice fields – my wish is to have a decent life where I don’t have to worry about food. The red color stands for my strength – the red lines are like tree branches twisting and growing very strong. Then comes the Purple – the color of power. It’s the power that Hagar, in collaboration with the government, has given women like myself. Being empowered by Hagar made me realize my own value. The blue color means Peace and Hope. Once you have the Belief, you will have the Hope and that will create Strength. But to transform and thrive you also need Determination. Only you can create strength for yourself. That’s what Hagar helped me to realize, so that no matter how our lives turn out in the future, I know we will always survive. That’s why I call this picture New Living Seed. That’s Me of today!