Art-based psychosocial interventions in Japan: cross-cultural encounters

Tami Gavron, Takehiko Ito, Takayo Inoue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: This article describes a psychosocial art-based group intervention for professional caregivers in Japan led by Israeli and Japanese mental health professionals, and explores the cross-cultural dilemmas related to this intervention. Context: The interventions took place from 2012 to 2016 in response to the tsunami and its aftermath. Two case descriptions explore the role of art and the implementation of art therapy in Japanese culture. Approach: The art-based group interventions were developed in conjunction with local Japanese mental-health professionals and include individual and group artistic expression. Outcomes: Several dilemmas associated with the cross-cultural encounter emerged. These touch on the ways in which a culture-bound phenomenon such as art can relate to the development of coping methods attuned to Japanese culture. Conclusions: Although psychosocial art-based interventions may elicit cultural dilemmas as depicted here, joint art-making can function as a societal process that enables the expression of community trauma, and can contribute to building individual and shared resilience. Implications for research: It is likely that art-based interventions will be needed all over the world. Future studies should continue to identify the dilemmas associated with the adaptation of art-based psychosocial interventions as a function of individual cultures. Plain-language summary This article describes a series of psychosocial art-based interventions in Japan led by Israeli and Japanese mental health professionals and funded by IsraAID, an Israeli non-profit organization that works with natural disaster survivors. The interventions took place from 2012 to 2016 in response to the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and its aftermath. Local mental health professionals, health workers and educators collaborated with the IsraAID team to build a training programme using the arts, while at the same time providing self-care and support to these professionals who had experienced this disaster. The art-based group interventions methods are presented in vignettes from two groups, which highlight the role of art and the important cross-cultural aspects about these interventions. These case studies show that creating art together can serve a societal function and enable the expression of community trauma, while fostering individual and community resilience. As reflecting on the process, several dilemmas associated with the cross-cultural encounter in these art-based interventions came to the surface. Future researches could examine the participants' experiences in using art in trauma care, in the context of the cross- cultural encounter, by examining the long-term effects of these interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-169
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Art Therapy: Inscape
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 British Association of Art Therapists.

Keywords

  • Art-based intervention
  • cross-cultural intervention
  • Japan
  • psychosocial aid
  • tsunami

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Psychology

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