BELGIUM

Type of mission

Clinical programmes

Background  

The Red Pencil, in partnership with the Belgian Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (Fedasil), delivers group arts therapy sessions to residents who require immediate psychosocial assistance. Interventions are designed to address the existential distress, grief and loss arising from their situation and help overcome their struggles by building resilience to project themselves in the future and find their place in society. 

Over a period of three years, The Red Pencil will be organizing about 50 cycles of workshops for the benefit of 500 newcomers living in some of Belgium's asylum centres. Each cycle is typically composed of 10 sessions and targets 10 beneficiaries.

 

Partner organization

With support from its partners (such as The Belgian Red Cross), Fedasil focuses on securing shelter, food, and assistance to asylum seekers during the time their asylum request is being processed. The Red Pencil’s programmes complement very well Fedasil’s psycho-social approach.

Where

Asylum seekers reception centers managed by Fedasil and The Belgian Red Cross.

Art Therapists

  • Mamiaba Banernsco
  • Fred Bastin
  • Jean-François Delforge
  • Sylvia Delperdange
  • Sophie Descampe
  • Isabelle Dierckx
  • Colette Hellings
  • Anik Eyben
  • Johanna Leps
  • Sophie Levy (intern)
  • Karen Mosselmans
  • Natacha Pirotte
  • Annemie Sel
  • Cathy Van Beneden
  • Sofie Vandaele (intern)

Beneficiaries 

The emotional and social needs of asylum seekers and, more generally, migrants, are identified to arise out of living the experience of separation, mourning and often having to undergo a traumatic journey to reach a foreign country. Therefore asylum seekers may be experiencing some of the stressors related to existential distress such as feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, anxiety and depression as well as grief and loss.
 
Our beneficiaries are selected by Fedasil, and priority is given to the residents who need the most help. The content of our clinical missions is tailored to suit the type of care that the group requires. 
 
Over our 3-year plan, our clinical programmes will reach approximately 500 beneficiaries including:
  • 30% of unaccompanied minors
  • 10% of children accompanied by their parents
  • 30% of young single adults (between 18-22 years old)
  • 30% of adults

Objectives

For the beneficiaries

  • Enable them to cope with the difficult emotions relating to displacement
  • Empower their self-identity, through the creative process
  • Enhance their resilience of participants
  • Give them an opportunity to connect to others through group facilitated sessions

For the partner

  • Integrate psychosocial assistance through arts therapy in asylum seeker centres in Belgium
  • Advocate for the importance of integrating psychosocial assistance

Type of mission

Clinical programmes

Background  

In Belgium, like in most developed countries, cancer is a serious disease whose incidence on the general population is very important. In 2015, 67,087 new cancer diagnoses were registered in Belgium and about one in three men and one in four women will be affected by the disease before their 75th birthday.

While the bulk of cancer care remains the quality of medical treatment, it is equally important that patients, during their illness, feel good about themselves and their minds.

Cancer is a very stressful disease that can pose a wide range of challenges, including lifestyle changes, interpersonal tensions, existential crises, and social isolation. It is therefore very important that patients have adequate psychological and emotional support.

Partner organization

The Red Pencil collaborates with the King Albert II Institute, which is part of the Saint-Luc University Hospital. The Institute is the clinics' cancer centre: it provides comprehensive and multidisciplinary care for patients. It is recognized for its expertise and the quality of its treatments.

RPE also collaborates with BOfort,- the Brussels Meeting Place for everyone affected by cancer – a place where people can go for a listening ear, relaxation, workshops and gathering information in a homely and casual atmosphere.

Where

King Albert II Institute & BOfort.

Art Therapists

Natacha Pirate
Tanais Verbist

Beneficiaries 

  • The beneficiaries are outpatients who undergo cancer treatment at the Institute, at any stage of the treatment.
  • Cancer is often experienced as a rupture, an intense existential experience. It upsets one's personal and professional spheres, it disrupts one's social, emotional and family life, it transforms one's relationship to oneself, one's changing body, one's entourage and to the world in general.
  • Cancer patients generally suffer from high anxiety, which is accompanied by phases of anger and feeling of injustice (“why me?"). The fear of dying and giving up others is very present. For some it is also a time to come back and look back at their existence. Many patients also describe a feeling of isolation, great loneliness in the crossing of the disease, and the fact that their families and friends may have a hard time understanding what they are going through, which can generate melancholy, depression and relationship difficulties. The image of self is impaired, particularly the feminine part for breast cancer patients. Some patients even feel guilty of this situation. Psychic suffering is then added to the decrease in quality of life already induced by the disease and its heavy treatments.

Objectives

The objectives of the mission focus on encouraging participants to express themselves and find coping mechanisms through art making in order:

  • to relieve stress and somatic tensions
  • to express, accept, regulate and possibly transform emotions to offer new perspectives, instilling hope and connect to creativity
  • to strengthen one's sentiment of existence and self-knowledge
  • to create meaning about the disease and integrate it into a personal narrative

Examples of proposed activities were

  • using clay, modelling a place where you feel safe
  • make a collage of “what is present inside you”
  • draw your breath
  • make a visual poem
  • approach difficult emotions through tenderness and compassion
  • draw a difficult emotion and transform it.

Type of mission

Clinical programmes

 

Background  

Adolescence is a critical phase in human development, and for some teens this transition presents difficulties that require specific intervention.

 

Partner organization

The Adolescents Unit at Erasme Hospital welcomes patients between 13 and 18 years of age with mental distress, such as an eating disorder, a school phobia, depression or the like which prevents them from functioning normally in their external environment. The Unit can accommodate 20 adolescents. They stay there for a period of approximately 6 weeks.

The Therapeutic Center for Adolescents of St-Luc Hospital has a capacity of 20 teens too. The teens stay there for a period of 6 to 9 months.

Where

Adolescent Unit, University Hospital Erasme

Therapeutic Center for Adolescent, St-Luc University Hospital   

Art Therapists

Sophie Descampe

Natacha Pirotte

Objectives

The Red Pencil project complements the support offered by the multidisciplinary team which includes a psychiatrist, nurses, specialized educators, psychologists (individual and family), occupational therapist and physiotherapist.

The programme was built to address the emotional and social needs of the beneficiaries: the need to increase their internal security, build self-confidence, step back and consider new ways to progress.

The overall objectives of the program are to provide participants with an opportunity to:

  •  relax, connect with yourself
  • create links with others
  • let emerge what needs to be expressed
  • support a personal creative expression
  • boost self-esteem

Type of mission

Train-The-Trainer programmes

Pilot programme of 2 days training

 

Background  

In many schools, the school management and the teachers are confronted to pupils who have to deal with aspects such as fear of failure, social and economic difficulties, cultural adaptation. This can lead to conflicts in the class, some time to bullying and might cause extra stress to the teachers.

The Red Pencil project is part of a continuing education for the school management and teachers, with a focus on topics such as conflict prevention and harassment, and self-care techniques.

 

Partner organization

Two schools hosted the pilot project : the Sint Jozefschool and the Sint Vincentiusschool, both primary schools in Brussels.

Both schools were interested in counseling through art therapy, in order to cope better with this stress, to guide the children in their growth process and to teach them how to deal with a multitude of feelings when confronted to difficult situations such as conflict and bullying.

Where

Sint Jozefschool and the Sint Vincentiusschool, both primary schools in Brussels

Art Therapists

Natacha Pirotte

Beneficiaries 

10 participants. Teachers or members of the school administration, teachers from the elementary section (children aged between 6 and 12y) and pre-schools teachers (children aged from 3 to 5y).

Objectives

The content of the program was built to reflect the demand expressed by the teachers, that is, have additional tools to inform, prevent and resolve conflicts in the classroom and the playground, to detect possible cases of harassment and also to take care of oneself as an education professional.

Our work here

Number of missions: 

Long-term ongoing partnerships focusing on 3 sectors: social inclusion, health, youth.

Global impact in Belgium (projected):

Social inclusion : 500 beneficiaries (asylum seekers) over a 3-year period

Health: 200 beneficiaries over a 3-year period 

Youth: 100 teachers over a 2-year period

Partners: 

Social inclusion: Fedasil, The Red Cross – Belgium

Health: King Albert II Institute (Saint-Luc University Hospital), BOFort, Erasme University Hospitals, Therapeutic Center for Adolescents (CThA)

Youth: schools

Programmes: 

Clinical sessions and Train-The-Teachers programmes

For further information on these programmes, please contact natacha@redpencil.org