Art Therapy’s contribution to alleviating the HIV burden in South Africa

Hayley Berman, Nataly Woollett

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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South Africa carries one of the world’s most prevalent burdens of disease, HIV. Living surrounded by so much illness and death and against an historical backdrop of violence and poverty, many young people have had multiple exposures to trauma and bereavement with little opportunity to grieve and recover. One of the many tragedies in South Africa is a deficit of parental figures to provide containment, safety and a space for processing complex trauma and complicated grief. At present there are insufficient therapeutic resources to meet the depth and breadth of need. Many of the existing psychosocial practitioners, while facilitating courageous and extraordinary projects, have inadequate training and are often traumatized themselves.
Two art psychotherapists, one having worked within a community art therapy centre, the other in the public health system, outline the psychosocial context in which many young South Africans are raised. They describe an experiential art therapy group with HIV counsellors with the primary objective of becoming ‘surrogate parents’, enabling their capacity to work more effectively and creatively with groups, increasing their propensity for empathy, being able to receive emotional support, as well as encouraging group cohesion with increased productivity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe International Handbook of Art Therapy in Palliative and Bereavement Care
Editors Michele JM Wood, Rebecca Jacobson, Hannah Cridford
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherTaylor & Francis Group
ISBN (Electronic)9781315110530
ISBN (Print)9781138087361, 9781138087330
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2019


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