By Camille Dupire
Jordan Times, Amman
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Art therapist Ola Khorchid says she believes art therapy can not only help people heal, but also gain new skills to rebuild themselves in the aftermath of future traumas.
Advocating for the use of art in expressing oneself and enhancing learning capacities, Jordanian Ola Khorchid called for the development of non-traditional learning techniques.
“Not all students have the same learning capabilities and the academic way of teaching does not fit the needs of all,” the art therapist said, stressing that “including other methods and areas of learning such as art, music and ethics… would truly benefit the greatest numbers and help us build a capable, resourceful next generation”.
She cited Omar Razzaz’s declarations earlier this month, as he called for a stronger focus on values, ethics and behavioral awareness in school programs.
Khorchid, who started her career as an interior designer, is now training social workers, educators and young entrepreneurs to the techniques of art therapy, in order to spread the use of art as a working tool in various sectors.
“Contrary to Europe and the US, art therapy is still very misunderstood and undervalued in Jordan and the region.
People think art is either only for artists or ‘just for fun’. They do not believe that it can serve as a real tool for therapy and solving problems,” the woman told The Jordan Times, stressing the great benefits she witnessed when working with refugees or autistic children.
The mother of one of her patients, Nisreen (names were changed to preserve anonymity), approached Khorchid to solve the issues facing her son after her divorce.
“One of my children was struggling with a number of challenges. Ola worked with him to help him identify his fears and then to challenge them. The improvement has been phenomenal, despite my child’s initial resistance,” she recalled, noting that she decided to attend group sessions with both of her children “because I can see the positive difference this does in our family life“.