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The art of healing

Nina C George, Bengaluru, Dec 05, 2016, DHNS: 1:13 IST
Tripura Kashyap (extreme left, leading the group) during one of her dance therapy sessions
Popping in pills may not always be the best cure to physical, emotional and mental ailments. Bengaluru is home to various alternative therapies which are fast catching up with conventional treatments.

An increasing number of groups and individuals are dedicating time and talent and coming up with ideas to popularise therapies such as dance, clay art and storytelling. Aparna Athreya, a Bengaluru-based storyteller, points out that storytelling therapy is based on the belief that the “problem is the problem; the person is not the problem”.

“Grounded in this philosophy, storytelling therapy is a way of empowering people to reframe perceptions of themselves. Through this process, people have the potential to transform at a psychological level. The therapy could be an alternative to medicine in the psychological domain and catharsis in the physiological domain,” explains Aparna.
She also says this form is about taking people back to their past to set a new path for a bright future.

“It is an interactive process between the therapist and the individual to identify, acknowledge and externalise the problems troubling them in the form of stories. Once this is done, individuals are able to craft alternative stories that could help them evolve personally and psychologically,” she adds.

Aparna says people of all age groups come to her and the problems could vary from depression to low concentration levels and even serious health-related issues.
Any form of physical activity such as dance and sports is bound to trigger positive vibes and help generate happy hormones, says dance therapist Tripura Kashyap. She is a movement therapist, dancer, educator and a choreographer.

Tripura says, “There’s a misconception that dance therapy is meant only for people with some kind of disability but that’s not true. We have all kinds of people coming to us, right from children to those above 70 years. We believe that everybody is born with movement and what we do is help people rediscover that movement in themselves.”

She points out that there are a few basic steps that are followed in dance therapy. “We begin by exploring movement, move onto helping people express their thoughts and emotions through it, resolve problems through eye contact and teach them how to express their problems verbally. The last step is to integrate all the previous ones,” she explains.

Tripura also says she has come across a lot of people who have stopped taking antidepressant pills and turned to adopting alternative therapies, dance among them.
Any physical activity impacts the neurotransmitters in the brain in a good way and helps generate happy hormones, she adds. “Antidepressant pills are a synthetic way of generating these happy hormones and we would not recommend that,” she says. She adds that any group activity serves as a progression towards curing any disease.

Another form of therapy that is slowly gaining ground is clay art. Anupama Sebastian, with Clay Station Art Studios, has been actively involved in helping people solve health-related issues that stem from high levels of stress and low self-esteem.

“Clay art has great therapeutic powers and helps develops basic motor skills. You require a lot of concentration while working with clay. You tend to channelise your attention and imagination towards creating something beautiful. This is a great way to de-stress,” explains the clay artist.

This particular type of therapy helps people overcome problems related to attention deficiency, low self esteem and those who have issues with streamlining their activities, says Anupama.

She says this is popular across all age groups, though youngsters aged between 16 and 27 years seem to particularly favour it.

These alternative forms of therapy might not deliver instant results. The recovery might be slow but it is steady, say people who vouch for the power of these.

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