INTERVIEW WITH SORAYA OBEID
In simple terms, can you explain what creative arts therapy is about to those who might not know what it is?
Creative arts therapy is an approach to therapy where the client utilizes his or her creativity to express themselves in the engaging presence of the therapist. It could be in the form of art, music, dance, drama, or expressive therapies.
What does creative arts therapy mean to you?
Creative arts therapy means to me establishing a solid relationship between the creative modality, therapist, and client, based on trust, safety, and confidentiality.
How did you first discover about creative arts therapy as a practice?
I am at the basis a painter. In 2014, I was searching to expand my practice from an artist creating for herself, to a creative person that professionally and artistically can serve her community, with positive impact. Since 2014, I have introduced art therapy to a Lebanese NGO, Myschoolpulse, and to hospitals in Lebanon for the first time.
“… I was searching to expand my practice from an artist creating for herself, to a creative person that professionally and artistically can serve her community, with positive impact."
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a creative arts therapist? Was it your first career choice?
My first career choice was graphic design and then a Masters in Fine Arts. Afterwards, in 2014, I enrolled in the College for Clinical and Educational Art Therapy in Australia, before pursuing my second Masters degree, which was in Art Therapy in the USA. I am currently enrolled in Lesley University in the USA as a doctoral student in Expressive Therapies.
What is the greatest joy about being a creative arts therapist?
Finding change and transformation as a result of the therapeutic exchange is the greatest gift of all to me as an art therapist caring for her clients.
What are some of the challenges you have experienced as a creative arts therapist?
As a creative arts therapist, setting boundaries in the therapeutic relationship is salient.
From your experience, how do you think creative arts therapy impacted the lives of your clients?
From my professional experience, I have witnessed change and healing in many of my clients who are now off without me. This makes me so happy of our achievements, together.
“… I have witnessed change and healing in many of my clients who are now off without me."
You pursued further studies in expressive therapies after your Masters in Art Therapy, how do the two degrees complement each other in your practice of creative arts therapy?
My Masters degree in Art Therapy is very essential for my ethical practice and growth. My doctoral studies in Expressive Therapies complement this degree with its emphasis on research and empirical evidence in the impact and effectiveness of my practice.
Do you have any advice for budding creative arts therapists out there who want to start this profession?
Creative arts therapy is a fulfilling profession of hope and positive change.
How did you find out about The Red Pencil?
On graduation from my Masters degree in the USA. My classmate in the USA reached out to me in Lebanon about a position of an Arabic speaking art therapist on social media. Since then, I work with The Red Pencil.
Can you share with us more about the greatest moment or most unforgettable experience you have had thus far working with The Red Pencil?
Working with The Red Pencil is enriching and has a positive impact on its beneficiaries. It also has a cultural-sensitive approach and mindfulness in its approach of work applications.
You are also a freelance mural painter. Why specifically mural painting?
I have so much to give. Painting on walls is very expressive to me and free. I feel free and in control while painting on murals, though it is also challenging!
Due to the pandemic, you have had to shift to conducting art therapy sessions online for The Red Pencil. How did you find the experience?
Working online due to the pandemic is very rewarding. Surprisingly, the work is impactful and the beneficiaries are enjoying and benefitting from the sessions greatly.