Finding the Missing Pieces Through Art Therapy


Sr Doreen Bradley, much loved Art Therapist, has recently left Caritas Bakhita House after six years, and has moved to another part of the country.  Evidence of her achievement can be seen in the paintings shown here, which were displayed at the RENATE film festivalClick on each image to see a larger version with an explanation from the artist.

But the purpose of Sr Doreen’s work wasn’t to create art worthy of displaying. Here she reflects on what art therapy has achieved for the guests, as they recover from the trauma of slavery and learn to move on with their lives:

I very simply opened creative doors and journeyed with our guests as they rediscovered their inner beauty and discovered their dormant and hidden personal giftedness.

Each unique person is created in the image of the creator and each person brings a unique gift to the puzzle which we can call life. If only one persons gift is missing that jigsaw will never be complete. We must always remember that every human being is called to wholeness.

The uniqueness of each person is what brings colour and hope, pain and healing, and a bundle of mysteries to everyday life. Creative activities unlock many of these mysteries as each person discovers within, a pallet of different colours reflecting their unique experiences.

Pictorial art is poetry without words revealing the heart and being of the person. Art and creativity touches a person’s whole being and for beautiful women who were deprived of being the unique and wonderful person they were created to be, art can be challenging.

From their experience of cruel controlling enslavement I was encouraging them to make choices, helping them to build their confidence by making personal choices, but supporting them in the realisation that every choice they made had a consequence.

Art is all about choices, about techniques, styles, colours, forms, choice of materials, size and how much the person wishes to reveal. The results depend on the choices made.

Many of our guests said that getting ‘lost’ in the art helped them to forget their pain and frightening memories for a while.

Art is also fun, there is laughter and there can be tears of joy and sadness, and always there is encouragement from everyone in Bakhita House.

5.Flowers in acrylic paint.  Artist. A female from Vietnam. Trafficked via China where part of her finger was removed and forced into sexual exploitation on arrival in the UK.

Caritas Bakhita House is currently in process of recruiting a new Art Therapist to carry on Sr Doreen’s amazing work.

Click here to donate to Caritas Bakhita House

More about Sr Doreen in Bakhita House on the Conference of Religious website, 2018 



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