“Conscious Connections”- An Indian perspective to Arts Based Therapy

Friday, April 5, 2019

When we look at what cannot be seen or recall that which cannot be remembered, one is much convinced that there is more to perception than meets the eye. What would it mean to look at therapy not as treatment but instead a multi modal approach where all those involved in the process co-create spaces that allow auto-learning, discovery and examination. Holistic approaches are more effective than any stand-alone line of treatment. A new science of mind is emerging from Indian traditions of introspection and contemplative practice along with a strong empirical support from western science.  This session outlines the Arts based therapy approaches that have been implemented at community, institutional and clinical levels across India. Given the cultural diversities and the heterogeneity of the special populations, using the Arts in healing has emerged as a new language in therapy.  This principle of integrated therapeutics augurs to a possible future where the modern, alternative and complementary health systems in concert make a crucial difference to both the healthcare and education sectors. 

Gitanjali is the founder of Snehadhara Foundation, an educationist, a social entrepreneur, an Arts Based Therapy (ABT) Educator, Practitioner and Guide with over two decade’s experience in teaching a diverse population of children and adults. Snehadhara Foundation, a registered non-profit organization based in Bengaluru, India is the first and only Centre in India that uses Arts Based Therapy as the primary methodology to work with children and adults with disabilities. The twin goals of the Foundation are - Arts Based Therapy and Education for Inclusion. Over the past 6 years Snehadhara has worked with around 800 children through direct and weekly interventions, with over 50000 children through indirect interventions in schools and other receptive environments and trained over 1800 professionals in learning institutions across 250 organisations across the country.Gitanjali is a recipient of the Millennium Alliance Grant 2017 as a social innovator of one of the top five Innovations in the country for Education for the project ‘Kala Samavesh -Inclusion and Education of Disabilities. She has been conferred the Super Achievers Award, 2017, by the Association of People with Disability (APD) in memory of its founder N.S Hema, to recognize her outstanding contribution in the field of Disability in and outside Karnataka. Gitanjali has been an ACTIVATEE speaker at the 45th International Association for Experiential Education (AEE) Conference in Montreal in November 2017. Gitanjali has presented at the prestigious TEDx platform at BITS Hyderabad on ‘The Goodness of Life’. Gitanjali is the recipient of the NGO Leadership Awards 2017 as recognition of leaders who have contributed value & made a change as a strategic tool for sustainable growth. She has been awarded as one among the 50 Most Impactful Social Innovators (Global Listing) by the World CSR Congress and Awards. Gitanjali is also the recipient of the ‘Dr. Amarnath Annual Award for Inclusion’, 2016. She is one among two artists to be awarded the Artist’s Grant 2014 for the ‘Art in Education Program’ by the India Foundation for the Arts and the Artist’s Grant 2014 by India Foundation for the Arts. She has been recognised by Global Ethics Forum and Indian Institute of Management, for working towards establishing an impartial and fair world. Gitanjali is on the panel of experts of the ‘Arivu Disha’ a two-Pronged Program by Headstreams to Improve Learning Outcomes and Career Prospects of government school children in Karnataka. She has mentored and trained educators, special educators, therapists, teachers, educational assistants across 100 organizations in India.