The union between art and therapy to heal and reach a state of presence

How can we use art and therapy as a way to achieve a state of greater pleasure? Samantha, actress and psychologist, brought together a group of people to discover how these universes can come together - Play our Episode #3 (subtitled in English)

Samantha Pires has always shifted between the worlds of therapy, where she graduated as a psychologist, and art, as an admirer and artist herself. These two environments, in some way, took her to a state of observation and openness to communication during her 28 years of life.

While Psychology appealed to her as the professional path, art was the place where Samantha broke down her personal barriers to discover a more spontaneous and free expression, in addition to being closer to people.

"The experience of art, as an actress and also as an art consumer, is part of my daily life. Is a place where I can be in a relationship with people. If I'm listening to music all by myself in a room, I do not feel alone. I am in contact with someone, with who composed that song", she says.

At first, the connection between therapy and art, however, was not evident to her - in fact, they seemed to be two different paths, even irreconcilable. But when she realized the therapeutic potential that art had in her own life, she started to think about how she could bring these two areas together.

The traditional methods that merge art and therapy were not exactly what she was looking for, although she recognized them as important in their contexts. She names, for example, the use of music therapy in patients with mental health problems. "It is a work of momentarily relieving a patient's anxieties, which is something valid. But I wanted to take this to a more serious and deeper place, and I didn't know how to do it."

She had many sketches in her head, but nothing concrete. "I thought that it would take 20 years to implement this project", she says.

A new group is formed

While she was wondering what project could come out of these sketches, Samantha discovered the Clear Purpose Framework and decided to go through the process. "It was perfect, because the framework helps you to organize the resources, potentials, ideas and projects that are already in your mind, and start putting them into practice."

The first question in the framework did not involve art or therapy; it was about state of presence. "Presence is a fashionable word, but I don't think that people understand exactly how a state of presence happens. It seems a distant, mystical place. Our idea was to explore how human beings, as a culture, understand and exercise presence, and what art and therapy have to do with it."

This connection between art, therapy and presence became the guide of her process in the framework, and also of her newly born project. In the context of social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic, the possibilities were limited, and a specific idea emerged: a study group formed by artists and therapists to discuss this subject at online meetings.

"It was an idea that came from my confidence that I am not the only person who wants to build a bridge that connects art and therapy. Whoever had the same interest in doing practical and theoretical research on this topic would be able to find a means for that."

Samantha started to invite friends who might be interested in joining this debate, and they also invited their friends. The group gathered around 25 people, who meet every 15 days - the number of people at each meeting varies. "And the cool thing is that, as the meeting is online, we have people from all over the world - Brazilians from several states or different countries", she says.

Presence means cure

The first meeting started with a question: what is presence, and how art and therapy connect to it. In the end, the group ended up with many more questions, which became the agenda of the second meeting, and this scenario repeated in the following weeks.

In addition to their insights, the members realized the bond they felt with each other, and the therapy was already happening right there. "It is a way of exchanging experiences, creating a bond and realizing that we are not alone, even now, in the era of social distancing. It has been incredible. People are glad for this time together, looking at each other, enjoying themselves."

In addition to what the artists and therapists have experienced in the meetings, there is already a practical learning experience being taken to the world. The group says that their insights reverberated in their routines of artistic production and patient care, or simply in their relationship with other people.

When Samantha is asked about where this project is going, she thinks for a while. "We may create a theater company, or the psychologists could develop techniques and experiences using art as an instrument. Maybe we will create something together."

"But, regardless of the format, I hope that we will contribute to a world where art is being used consciously as an instrument of healing, liberation and therapy. That's the only thing I want from this project."

In Samantha's view, a world that understands art as an instrument of healing will also be a world where people will experience a true state of presence. "Let people know how natural, desirable, pleasant and spontaneous it is to be alive at all times, not just at specific moments. This is, for me, a world that we can call 'happy'."

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