How art therapy is helping Russian prisons and armed forces

Logo-Russia-Beyond-The-HedlinesNovember 21, 2013 Marina Obrazkova, RBTH
Traditional psychotherapy methods have yet to gain mass popular support in Russia. Although the number of therapists and private practices offering counseling services is growing, there still is no established tradition of turning to them for regular help.
Yet the armed forces and the penitentiary system in Russia are beginning to use of art therapy to work with their population.
The Russian Federal Penal Service has launched a « sand experiment » in prisons in Krasnoyarsk Territory. Psychologists have decided to use sand art therapy in their work with the most difficult inmates: those who suffer from various phobias, who are withdrawn, depressed, or cannot come to terms with their circumstances.
Psychologists believe that working with sand can help one get rid of many negative emotions. Inmates are invited to try sand animation, modeling various life scenarios. The first results of the experiment, as reported by the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper, have shown that after sand therapy, inmates become more open, more friendly, more confident. Many of them have become noticeably less aggressive and are now helping their fellow inmates. According to their own account, tactile contact with sand provokes a wave of positive emotions. Some of the inmates who took part in the experiment have displayed a real talent and will now have formal training in drawing.
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Jean-Michel Oughourlian – Fonction du religieux et du politique

Psychopolitique]-M.O : Au long de l’histoire de l’humanité, le religieux me semble-t-il a progressivement reculé pour se transformer en politique. Le politique, comme le religieux, a deux fonctions essentielles :
1. assurer la paix et l’ordre à l’intérieur de la communauté, c’est-à-dire la cohérence de la nation ;
2. de même que l’apanage du religieux est de désigner la victime à sacrifier, l’essence du politique consiste en la désignation de l’ennemi. Comme l’écrit Carl Schmitt : « La distinction spécifique du politique, à laquelle peuvent se ramener les actes et les mobiles politiques, c’est la discrimination de l’ami et de l’ennemi2. »
2. Schmitt, Carl, La notion de politique – Théorie du partisan,
Paris, Calmann-Lévy, 1972, p. 66.
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Autres billets du livre Psychopolitique
Jean-Michel Oughourlian – Dire une vérité au patient
Livre – Psychopolitique par Jean-Michel Oghourlian