Volume 2022 Number 3
  • EISSN: 2223-506X


Engaging in the arts has been demonstrated scientifically to enhance brain function. Creativity can modify a person’s perspective and experience of the world. Changes in cerebrum waves impact changes in the nervous system which can raise serotonin levels. This can affect emotions positively by regulating moods and improving brain function which influences both psychological and physiological wellbeing. Creativity is part of our natural development and should be a part of our healing as a community. Art Therapy (AT) is a mental health profession which carries out innovative adaptations as it is recognized as a stand-alone clinical intervention and through community engagement and social justice. Art Therapists are collaborating within diverse fields of clinical and non-clinical practice such as neuroscience and virtual reality. Three papers explore the development of Art Therapy as a profession in Qatar and how AT is an accessible and underutilised or often misjudged profession.

introduces ways that AT is practiced as a clinical, social action and community-based profession. AT might address the shame connected with psychological wellness by connecting with communities, sharing experiences of AT with the general public and by clinical professionals to support their careers, prompting less burnout. Dr. Hadi Mohamad Abu Rasheed shares the Qatar Cancer Society’s experience of using Art in psychosocial support for children living with cancer. The western trained Art Therapist's awareness of cultural competence when working in the context of non-western cultural approaches to mental health is imperative to complement the heritage, creativity and community values of the local culture. Intersectional frameworks will inform ethical professional values to be upheld.

develops how AT offers context to reduce the stigma of mental health in Qatar. The first Museum and Gallery AT visit in Qatar, with patients attending a substance misuse program, saw outcomes that included increased engagement in clinical sessions and an art exhibition that was held in the hospital and at conferences within Qatar and globally.

discusses the global alterations in the AT workplace following the Covid-19 epidemic; online AT; and how AT has adapted to employing technology before and after the pandemic. The technology employed in AT is not new. Art Therapists are now using Virtual Reality, where the client becomes part of the world they have created, interacting in it, with the art therapist present. The Emotion Sensing Recognition (ESRA) app is being developed by Dr. Mowafa and Dr. Jens with the consultation of an Art Therapist Trish, to ensure the ethics of working with images. This app can increase positive parent-child attachment and increase the ability to recognise and talk about feelings for parent and child.

AT is a cost-effective adaptive treatment and is being prescribed by General Practitioners in the UK and USA alongside visits to museums, choirs etc. How will Qatar embrace this adaptable, unique profession and will ensure it is ethically practiced by trained licensed Art Therapists? Collaborative research and training within different fields should be encouraged.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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