Freedom from Torture - Art therapy

Art therapy

Anger, sadness, terror, fear, joy and hope are emotions that are explored and expressed through art. Freedom from Torture clients are no different, as they use drawing, painting and sculpting to come to terms with their past and grapple with their present.

Art is a valuable medium through which clients can express the unspeakable, accessing emotions which they may not be ready to verbalise in direct counselling sessions. Techniques used by clinicians include painting, drawing and sculpting. Freedom from Torture offers art therapy to children who have experienced a high level of violence, separation, loss and change. Many of these children have often undergone and witnessed unspeakable brutality. Art allows their concerns to be expressed through symbols or metaphors. 

Open to all: Freedom from Torture’s Open Art Studio

Each week a room at Freedom from Torture’s London centre is transformed into an open art studio – a buzzy space where torture survivors meet to make art. Clients re-visit their interest in art or develop a new skill, growing their confidence in a social setting.There is a therapeutic culture of thinking and interpreting in the studio, where art allows the imagination to unravel visually, making the unconscious real, alive and less threatening. While some clients are naturally creative and passionate about art, others are socially isolated and benefit from the informal and friendly atmosphere.

The Art of Recovery

The Art of Recovery project aimed to explore how participatory art may contribute to the therapeutic work of Freedom from Torture and to the recovery of clients who were not involved with other types of group therapy. The purpose was not to use art as a therapeutic tool but rather to encourage clients to express safe spaces and places, real or imagined, from their past or present lives, and to ascertain how such an approach might benefit the emotional wellbeing of refugees traumatised by torture.

Read the full report here

Read a report summary

Read the participants' reactions