Amanda

Palestinian Educator, 2012
Seeds of Peace Fellow, 2018

IMPACT: SOCIAL

Using arts therapy to heal trauma in Palestine.

How has Seeds of Peace had an impact on you?

I’ve taken an interest in the psychology of the conflict on all levels, and the traumatic effect it has on people. This set me down a path dedicated to helping others heal their trauma. In 2012, I earned my Masters in Community Psychology, followed by a Diploma in Expressive Arts Therapies two years later.

How are you impacting your community?

Living in a conflict region leads to cumulate trauma. In Palestine, the entire population is traumatised in one way or another. This is what I want to address and what led me to become a psychologist and expressive art therapist.

Several brain studies prove that art therapy helps us to recover non-verbal emotions. Art therapy helps to reduce stress levels, anxiety, and depression, and improves our capacity to solve problems.

My GATHER Fellowship project, “Palestinian Hearts,” provides a safe space for Palestinians to catch their breath. This is a place where we get a chance to share our everyday stories through art. Workshops will combine visual art, psychodrama, music, movement, and dance.

What matters most is the process of finding an image for our pain, not the product we are creating.

We are building positive and active resilience. It’s important that people rediscover meaning in life and take action. Trauma can be paralyzing and we need better ways to break through the apathy so that people can contribute to society in a constructive and positive way.

“Life in Palestine is stressful and stress has medical consequences: people get aggressive and anxious, they have a hard time sleeping, they feel depressed, and are more prone addictions. We are always in survival mode.”