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The Healing Arts
This story appears in the September 2018 issue of School LIVE.
As soon as we step into school, it becomes a place of learning, growth, building relationships and skills. However, when burden to succeed surpasses the motivation to learn, it begins to take a toll on a student’s physical and mental health. We are unable to create a balance, find time for leisure away from screen time, and maintain effective real time relationships with friends, family.

Art As Therapy

The creative arts are not only a skill-building avenue but also an extremely important avenue for expression. The arts in any form allow individuals to express their fears, anxieties, strengths and ideas that allow for both release and validation. It is not always necessary to display ones art; even the creation of art in itself is extremely powerful. Writing without inhibition, moving to express an emotion, or just dipping one's fingers into paint and creating patterns allows for a fluid release of one’s emotions; and helps us move past a feeling of being stuck, exhausted and burdened.



The Arts and Academics: Not Mutually Exclusive

Very often students are made to believe that putting one’s passions or spaces for expression on hold will create more time for us to excel in the academic sphere. Where have the arts in education gone? Practicing and performing a piece of music, the thrill of acting in a play and the sense of achievement in completing an exhilarating dance practice allow for fun and positivity but also:

  • Confidence – Practicing or mastering an art form allows students to build their confidence, and generates a motivation and positivity towards succeeding. Moving away from one’s comfort zone, trying new activities allows us to move past the fear of failure and experimentation and builds courage.


  • Creativity and Cognition – A trait that every organization, and every profession from teaching and medicine to engineering and sales requires employees to have! Engaging in the arts allows for creative expression and enhances memory, focus attention! Remembering a dance routine or a monologue and repeating it countless times, creating a novel piece of poetry, drawing on memories and emotion to create art compositions enhance the brain’s ability to build these core skills which also enhance academic performance!


  • Decision Making and Problem Solving: The task of choosing between art media, of deciding what song to pick, what steps to assign to movement allow students to think critically, make choices and therefore their ability to cope with struggles in the future and take effective decisions. It also allows students to understand the importance of hard work, failure and how to work harder and try alternative routes to success.

  • Interpersonal Communication: Band practice, group performances, co writing music etcetera teach students how to collaborate, work together, support each other, identify individual strengths to help facilitate group outcomes as well as opportunities for them to come together to support one another! Many of the arts such as band, choir, and theater require kids to work together.


Research shows that engaging in the arts enhances cognitive skills, creativity and innovation, which facilitates academic achievement.

Remember, it is normal to feel anxious and pressured as we take on the different tasks and opportunities that come our way through the schooling process. Taking care of our mental and physical health, staying happy and motivated allow us to lead an enriching and balanced life! The arts are an avenue with multiple possibilities and outcomes the most important being joy!


Aditi Kaul

Expressive Arts Based Therapist/Psychologist

Coordinator – Arts Based Therapy Programme

Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences

Fortis Healthcare


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