ATWB Advisory Council Spotlight on Caroline Maby

Posted: June 15, 2011 by Gretchen Miller, MA, ATR-BC in advisory council spotlight interviews, art therapy

During 2011, Art Therapy Without Borders will be featuring members from the Advisory Council as an opportunity to learn more about their work and some of the art therapy initiatives they are involved in that speak to this community’s vision.  June’s spotlight includes Caroline Maby:

Artist and Art Therapist, Caroline Maby is the founding Director of Couleurs du Coeur,  a French non-profit organization that promotes humanistic philosophy and global collaboration through the use of  art therapy. Its primary mission is bring psychological care to victims of  PTSD, and more recently,  to children in Haiti.  Caroline works in France with various populations, including adults suffering from psychosis and bipolar disorders, violent adolescents and with people who are victims of exclusion.

Tell readers a little about yourself and what your interests are in art therapy: As far as I can remember, I have always been painting. As an artist, I dreamed of being a guide who could facilitate creation and encourage introspection.  Digitalism and interactivity was my first path. I developed Mind Art,  an interactive art concept with painting which became an innovative creation tool in the therapeutic environment.  Mind art is a digital experience which allows the individual to interpret the paintings in an intuitive and immediate way, according to her/his own sensibility. I first used the interactive installation in art  centers, then with people suffering from severe mental illness in psychiatric hospitals. These residencies provided my first contact with psychiatry and revealed my desire to become an Art Therapist. After years spent in institutions and residential treatment centers, I am now working in private practice with adults, adolescents and kids.  My practice is called Art Therapie Evolutive, inspired by the humanistic psychology of Maslow, Rogers, and Assagioli, symbolic analysm and the transformation of these drawings. I recently founded the humanitarian association Couleurs du Coeur (Colors of the Heart) which promotes the art-therapy in a united and humanist way. As organizer of the teams invested in Couleurs du Coeur’s international missions, I intervene regularly in Haïti and France with children suffering from PTSD and psycho-social troubles. I am just coming back from a 3 week training session in Port-au-Prince that was given to Haitian psychologists, caregivers, nurses, and teachers.

What do you believe are important considerations or emerging issues for the international art therapy community to pay attention to?   The aim of the Couleurs du Coeur was conceived by taking into great account the ethno-cultural aspects of the foreign culture we would meet. Haitian culture, beliefs like voodoo, and their symbolic color system is far different from ours. For example, pink might express sweetness to Caucasian people. Among Haitians, it is brown, the color of the skin. If we project our Western theories, this does not work and above all, is not respectful. I recommend this article published from MediaGlobal for more information about this work. Another consideration I would like to stress is the need to exchange our international practices in a free and open-minded way. Richness comes from differences. Exchanges with American and Canadian art therapists as well as my humanitarian work in Haiti as an art therapy trainer definitely helped develop my practice.

What are some special art therapy projects you are working on in 2011? As the President of Couleurs du Coeur, I wish to  establish a long term Art Therapy Training Program in Haïti. I am working hard to find partnership and places to settle the project. I am also working from France with a bright psychologist and Art Therapist in Kenya, Sikuku Martin, to conceive a global art therapy training program in Kenya.  Couleurs du Coeur is  ready to honor any demand of art therapy workshops in emergency situations or specialized art therapy training programs throughout the world.  Our experience in Haiti  has been precious. I also wish to develop my private practice in Brittany, France through organizing specialized workshops. I am especially interested in childhood trauma, women’s issues (breast cancer, domestic violence, self realization, etc.) and transpersonal approaches.

How can people contact you or find out more about your work? Do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail: caroline@couleursducoeur.org or this portal: www.myartbecomesyours.com (stands for my name «m a b y»). This site also provides access to the websites of Couleurs du Coeur, my studio for private practice and the interactive art experience Mind Art .

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Comments
  1. I find helpful an Intercultural approach to Art Therapy as it brings a deep understanding about symbolics contents of foreign patient’s images and their body language that otherwise are not noticed or even ignored by the therapist.

  2. Oh yes! You are right! Merci du partage… 🙂

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