"Oh! Now I remember": The use of a studio approach to art therapy with internally displaced people

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Forced relocation places adolescents in situations in which the social fabric of their community is ruptured. Adults who serve as support often are not functioning as well as community support systems, such as schools and community centers. The trauma of dislocation, the subsequent exposure to violence, and the witnessing of the breakdown of community and governmental authority figures can create difficulties in coping that manifest in a myriad of psychological symptoms. In this paper, the use of an open studio art therapy approach with internally displaced female adolescents is examined. Art therapy was found to benefit the participants by helping them find an empowered voice to tell a narrative of forgetting and remembering, allowing healthy re-enactment of the displacement, restoring a sense of pleasure and normalcy and strengthening social ties. The case study format allowed an in depth observation of the narrative of displacement of this group along with collaborative inquiry aimed at gaining insight into the group's perceived benefits of art making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-413
Number of pages7
JournalArts in Psychotherapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Case study
  • Gush Katif
  • Internal displacement
  • Studio art therapy
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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