A-C. – Brundi


A-C. – Brundi

A-C is a woman from Burundi, the only one left from her family (they all died in the genocide). She was present at all the sessions but very reserved and inhibited. Her body language was often her with her arms crossed.

Session 1 To Exist! Presentation of herself in the group

In the first session, she says that she does not have any artistic vocation. However, when she sees the other women creating, she begins making a collage. She is visibly pleased.

She explains that it is her dream. A father playing with his children, and after playing, they would go on the beach and watch the sea.

To live with a man whose likes (lets me) that I play sport and take music lessons.

Session 2: anchorage and place in the group

At first, she laughs, embarrassed about her dancing and movements. But she does it regardless.

After this, she joined two other women to help draw a collective mandala.

I notice that she has difficulty finding her place. She puts colors in the space traced by the others.

But she is quite talkative and open to others .

Session 3: to be here with her identity – anchorage and place in the women group

At first, I suggest listening to music of their country of origin and dancing

A-C  doesn’t have a song in mind. I have a music from her country and I offer to play it. It’s very traditional music and she says that’s not correct.

She doesn’t dance to her traditional dance, but follows the other women.

While working together on the collective mandala, I notice that she became more daring, and took more risks.

Session 4: Feel safe and find her place in the group

A collective work with the first names

She participates enthusiastically. She is more relaxed than before. She says that she likes being in this art-therapy sessions. It was a good idea of Fedasil and RPI to organize this.

Because when she is here, she forgets about the problems and being with other women helps her.

Session 5: suit of Session 4: decorate and personalise the fresco

A-C’s participation was great. She is really finding her place within the group.

Session 6: The path of my life – resilience concept 

Today’s suggestion is to draw a path as a metaphor of their personal trajectory, using images, drawing and/or painting (as they wish to).

A C says that she doesn’t like this idea, so I tell her that there is no obligation to do it, but begins to do the collage anyway.

She tells me that it is very difficult for her to remember all the parts of her life. It was so horrible. And the night that she often dreams about it, she goes in the psychiatric consultation for.

It’s the first time that she talks about her traumatic experience.

I tell her to also include things that she wants to see in her future.

She then added a car and a few sheeps.

Eventually she said that it was a good session, but she prefers to forget the past.

Session 7: Free yourself from stress and manage stress

She models clay with her eyes closed. Then she opens her eyes, elaborates it further and tells a story about it.

AC says that it is a jar, to contain beautiful flowers or candies… all is soft!

It’s the first time that she works with clay and likes it. She says it is very relaxing.

I notice that she begins to be able to express her inner experiences and feelings.

Session 8: Psychorporal session for stress management (dance and movement and somatic-experiencing +mindfulness) 

AC enjoys it. Her participation was great.

I notice that she is becoming more present in the group.

Session 9: Anchorage and positive attitude

The Tree

Today, she begins the session in a bad mood and says that she can not draw. Ultimately she made it and starts to be in a better mood, feeling satisfied with her work

She says : this is a tree from my country. Under the tree, the children play and the adults have discussions between family, friends, or cousins. When I was drawing I could connect to the beautiful memories and escape my problems!

Session 10: A personal talisman 

She says that she wants to advance in her life and work at her talisman with a lot of engagement.

Session 11: A bag for your works. Symbol of all that you have retained from these sessions

She says that the art-therapy sessions make her happy and positive

Session 12: Celebrations

Negotiation about the fresco : AC proposes to put the fresco on a wall at the center.

She is very proud and glad and says that she would never have believed that it could be so much fun to create.

She wants to create again.

Ultimately, I offer her the chance to dance and for the first time, AC dances in front of all the others with a beautiful smile.


AC is very traumatized and the art-therapy is very useful for her. It was a good experience. It was very important for her to respect her rhythm and not insist when she didn’t want to explore some difficult content.

The positive atmosphere of the sessions allowed her to de-stress and to consider her situation more positively.

It was a pity that we could not continue it.

Colette Hellings