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Art therapy helps child abuse victims

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Art therapy helps child abuse victims

2006-07-06 16:15

New Delhi:

Child abuse victims often find it hard to express their feelings. But something as simple as drawing a picture can be healing now. Researchers in Hong Kong have taken Art Therapy a step further by combining it with Virtual Reality.

An eleven-year-old boy was a victim of alleged physical and emotional abuse by relatives. He had become so aggressive that it became too much for his parents to handle him.

They ultimately turned to Art Therapist Julia Byrne for help. “He was very closed. Closed up both in body and emotion,” Byrne says.

Instead of traditional therapy, she’s treating him in the Virtual World. This form of therapy is called Smart Ambience Therapy, which is a high-tech program that blends Art Therapy and technology. “We have two cameras, one at the top and one at the side by. With these two cameras, we are able to calculate the three dimensional position of the human; his speed and his acceleration and his gesture,” Professor, City University of Hong Kong, Horace Ip says.

In this kind of
treatment a child is brought into an interactive, 3D environment, where
movements are transformed into colours on the screen

The activity may feel like a video game to
the child, but it’s a really safe place to express emotions. The
program is still in an experimental stage at City University of Hong
Kong but social workers say that it is promising.

“Through the play they can express
themselves. So this is really a good way to help them relax and engage,
and then start working on the problem,” HK Family Welfare Society,
social worker, Shirlay Tang says.

Experts also believe that this high tech approach to Art Therapy could also be used to treat trauma and phobias.

Amrita Tripathi

Source:  http://news.moneycontrol.com/india/newsarticle/stocksnews.php?autono=225472