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The poetry of therapy

Psychologist Kripi Malviya who is the co-founder of Tatva Centre, Corjuem, talks about using the creative arts to improve emotional well being, and the need for welfare centres at events in Goa

Story: CHRISTINE | MACHADO | 06th December 2017, 07:32 Hrs

The relationship between a therapist and the client is an interesting one and the crux to determining a positive outcome in the wellbeing of the client. However, according to psychologist, experential therapist and mental health professional Kripi Malviya, often the techniques used in therapy take precendence over the relationship.
"The relationship between the therapist and client is the blueprint to how things will turn out. You can use a lot of techniques but what you do is irrelevant if the relationship is not built properly," states the co-founder of the emotional well being project, Tatva Centre in Corjuem. "You have to realise that sometimes the client's relationship with the therapist is the first healthy one and becomes a sort of guide to helping them live their life from there on."
Another point that she and her partner at Tatva Centre David Stanton, believe is that this relationship should be long term. "Like any relationship, the building of a relationship between a therapist and the client takes time. Thus this relationship should be open and should continue as long as necessary," says Malviya. And over the course of many such relationships formed with her clients, Malviya has gotten an in depth look into their lives, how they see the world and how they think. And these relationships and the feelings they invoke in her have often inspired her to pen down poems. "The poems could be about many relationships and is 50 percent about me and what I experience. This isn't a case report. No personal details or anything of that sort is mentioned. It is just about the feeling for instance sadness, which is universal," she explains. These poems have recently been sent for an international poetry chapbook contest organised by a Kolkatta based organisation, Rhythm Divine, and her works have been shortlisted for the award. These poems which examine the relationships formed in therapy and how they are poetic in nature, and the benefits of using creative arts to improve a person's well being will be the focus of her talk at the upcoming Goa Arts and Literature Festival 2017.
Speaking further about using art for improving a person's well being, Malviya states, "Usually people come to an art event to see the art work, talk to the artist and then they go home. Through our workshops at Tatva we facilitate a group process after this where we get people to talk. This is not an intellectual conversation but an emotional one where people talk about what they are thinking and feeling," she explains, adding that they will be conducting a Film Therapy workshop soon where participants will watch films and then talk about how they connected and disconnected with each of them. "In group therapy, one has peer support and makes you feel like you are not alone in the way you think or feel and thus often is better than just sitting alone with the therapist. In India though group therapy is underutilized mainly because we don't have people who are trained in this. Most training institutions conduct a couple of classes on the importance of it and leave it at that. We have a lot of theory about it but no practical training," she says, adding that sometimes it is the people who are not open to this form of therapy as yet. "People love being part of group workshops and alternative healing group sessions and all but the moment you mention therapy, they are a little hesitant," she states.
In further promoting therapy in the art space, earlier this year Malviya co-founded the Poetry Therapy Society of India. "When I was researching about people who were using poetry as a form of therapy I discovered a few people working in different cities who didn't know each other. The idea was to bring them all under one umbrella and also to learn from each other," she says.
Apart from this, the Tatva Centre has also been promoting the need for having welfare areas at big music and other festivals in India and have already partnered with Magnetic Fields in Rajasthan in the past. "There have been quite a few mishaps and fatalities at festivals and parties as there is no provision for help for people who need them here.For instance if a person have taken a drug or had too much alcohol, got into a fist fight with someone etc, the person requires some help. At these welfare areas they can just come in and hang out and talk about it if they want. We have a bonfire going and often people just drop in and even have musical jam ups," she explains, adding that Goa especially being a party hub requires this kind of a set up. However, she has not had a very favorable response from the authorities. "Their response is that if there is an area like this it will provoke people to use drugs which makes no sense," she exclaims. "If these unfortunate incidents are the reasons for your fests getting shut down, why wouldn't you want to have something like this which will prevent such things happening?"

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