Art Therapy For Refugee Families

We are an Official Partner of Flourish Foundation project of art psychotherapy at Ritsona Refugee Camp, helping Syrian refugees overcome their experience of conflict.

Just north of Athens, the Ritsona Refugee Camp provides shelter, food, clothing and health care for 600 mostly Syrian Kurdish refugees.

But while the refugees’ basic needs are met, the camp offered almost no mental health support.

Flourish Foundation, a UK art psychotherapy charity, believes art can help express feelings and experiences too difficult to put into words.

"Art psychotherapy offers people the opportunity to explore their conscious and unconscious thoughts and their emotions and the emotional contents of their experiences in a very safe way.” - Emily Holligsbee, Art Psychotherapist at Flourish Foundation

On behalf of our members, donors and partners, we helped Flourish Foundation and provided 50% of funding for the project to help refugees express and start to cope with the trauma of war and migration.

In October 2016, Flourish Foundation ran a 6-week pilot at the Ritsona Refugee Camp.

Art therapists conducted sessions across ages and genders with materials like clay and paint. As participants created art, they expressed a huge range of emotions – and with the help of the therapists, started to talk about them.

In many of the images, [Syrian] flags have been produced, the maps, the eyes with the tears, and the sadness they express from losing their homeland. None of these people wanted to leave. They had no choice. - Missy May Regan, Flourish Foundation Founder and Art Psychotherapist

In March 2017, with our funding, Flourish Foundation returned to Ritsona to help even more refugees express their emotions and experience – and to regain confidence for the future.

The project will run until December 2017 and we are committed to provide our further support as an Official Partner and help put the power of art into action. 

Artistic activities allow people to express what’s going on for them on the page using the art materials. It’s a really visual form of therapy that can speak a language that can often be very difficult to communicate verbally. - Sarah Carder, Art Psychotherapist at Flourish Foundation