Art therapy could benefit offenders
Experts are suggesting that art therapy could hold the key to safely unlocking repressed, destructive and poorly understood emotions in some prisoners.
Later on this week the 20th annual conference of the International Association for Forensic Psychotherapy, subtitled “Murder in Mind”, will be held by psychiatrists, police officers and academics.
Experts such as psychiatrists from British hospitals Broadmoor and London’s Portman Clinic will be able to share their thoughts with various international academics, and the hot topic of this years conference is to be art therapy.
Art therapy or art psychotherapy as it is sometimes known is said to be an effective way of helping prisoners to surface repressed emotions using the medium of art for expression.
According to art therapist Kate Rothwell, the therapy is being used to work with individuals coming from backgrounds of serious abuse.
“Art therapy provides a unique opportunity for repressed, poorly understood and destructive emotions to surface in a safe way.” She said.
American psychiatrist, Professor James Gilligan is of the opinion that art therapy and the ability to understand those who have killed could be hugely beneficial, perhaps eventually contributing to the reduction of violence in communities.
“Forensic psychotherapy approaches violence as a problem in public health,” he says. “It should not be about how much we can punish an offender, but what we can learn from them to prevent others from acting in the same way.” He said.
DCI John Carnochan who will be speaking at the conference, is head of Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit and is of the belief that the police need to be involved in strategies which will prevent crime from happening in the first place.
“Even with the most effective police force in the world, you will not achieve significant reductions in violence across society; you’ll just be keeping a lid on it,” he said.
Elizabeth served 24 years for murder before beginning art therapy. Through her art Elizabeth was able to develop a symbolic language in her painting which helped to work through her childhood traumas. She has since been transferred to a low-security unit and her therapist now considers her to be safe to re-enter the community.
For more art therapy images from offenders please visit the original article here.