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NAYA| Drama Therapy as a source of healing for Arab women

Source: Annahar
Ghadir Hamadi
Photo shows a drama therapy session in progress. (Photo Courtesy of Intisar Foundation)
Photo shows a drama therapy session in progress. (Photo Courtesy of Intisar Foundation)
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BEIRUT: The Arab world has been inflicted by wars and political insecurity for decades, and women have been particularly affected, therefore Intisar Foundation decided to take matters into its own hands.

Intisar Foundation, an organization dedicated to combatting the implications of decades of violent conflicts on women’s mental health, launched 15 scholarships for a master’s program in drama therapy, in partnership with USEK.

“This coherent partnership will help peace efforts in the region,” Karima Anbar, CEO of Intisar Foundation, told Annahar.

This relatively new program will be taught in Arabic. Each student enrolled in the program is expected to reach between 1,500 and 2,000 beneficiaries over the period of 20 years. In total, the organization aims at benefitting 1 million Arab women directly and indirectly through the program.

Drama Therapy is a mix between psychological and theatrical practices. It allows the flexible usage of several activities to permit each women to explore and overcome her own individual trauma at her own pace and comfort.

The foundation insists that its primary goal is to alleviate war trauma for women.

Women, in particular, are highly prone to PTSD, are more likely to display symptoms of the disorder, and are likely to transfer unresolved trauma to their children through transgenerational trauma.

Alya, who chose to go by her first name only, is one of the women who underwent Drama Therapy.
“My personality became stronger and more resilient. The world is not always a sad place, there is happiness in it. Why should we always be sad? We can bring joy into our heart,” she said.

“When I stood on the stage, all my fears melted away. I could tell my story for the first time without crying,” said Ruba, who also chose to go by her first name.

Earlier this month, the foundation has also launched a crowdfunding campaign in partnership with GlobalGiving. The campaign aims at activating partners, donors and charitable individuals to raise funds for Intisar Foundation’s mental health response plan to the deadly August 4th blast that rocked Beirut.

The funds will be used to launch a program that focuses on the Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.

EMDR is a standardized and structured form of therapy used for very precise trauma cases. This type of therapy uses bilateral stimulation to release the related trauma and stress with a given incident.

EMDR has been proven to be one of the most effective therapies for PTSD and trauma-related disorders like somatic symptoms, depression and generalized anxiety, secondary to PTSD.

This short term, easily replicable, and highly effective treatment is one of the ideal interventions to help the women of Beirut overcome the innumerable complications of PTSD and empower them to lead healthier and safer lives along with their families.

According to HH Sheikha Intisar AlSabah, Founder of the Intisar Foundation,  “When we empower women, only then can there be peace. When they are at peace, their families, communities and the world will be at peace.”

Thus the foundations team of experts stated that this is the ideal intervention treatment to help the women of Beirut overcome the countless complications of PTSD and empower them to lead healthier lives.

The Drama Therapy and EMDR program are the two main programs launched by the foundation in Lebanon, to help Lebanese women navigate their way through the circumstances Lebanon has been facing.

Donation platforms are on the foundation’s social media pages.
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