Media-Art-Therapy for Mental Health Care

(Olena Voznesenska)

Institute of Social and Political Psychology, National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine

Introduction Media and communications play an extremely important role in our life and expand capabilities of every modern person. But informational influence can also cause mental traumatism. With an intensive media expansion in all spheres of life it is necessary to find ways to prevent possible negative media-related outcomes. Media literacy is relevant not only as means of developing media competences of a person and raising the level of one’s media culture, but also as a way of preventing and overcoming the effects of mediatraumatization.

Media trauma is a psychological trauma that appears under the influence of media tools, media messages, media content as a harmful reaction to an emotionally significant event affecting the meaningful spheres of human existence. Media trauma is associated with strong stressful effects on the psyche, a life threat (destroys the sense of security) (Voznesenskaya, Sidorkina, 2016).

Purpose. The purpose of the article is to present the experience of using media-art-therapy to overcome the consequences of psychotraumatization, conflict resolution and peacemaking under the war conditions.

Design / Methodology. Media-art-therapy as an opportunity for self-expression through media creativity is an effective strategy for the preservation of mental health, the prevention of media trauma and strengthening of media-immunity is.

Media-art-therapy is the newest type of art therapy. It’s basis is the usage of modern media that is a distinctive feature of the method. Media-art-therapy is more than just media art in therapy, but also concerns any media in art therapy used for the creative process (Voznesenskaya, Sknar, 2017).

Why is it necessary to create new personal assistance tools? We live at the time of informational explosion, when forms and means of communication and interaction are changing. Art as a reflection of a reality in creative way also changes. An artist goes to a new level of communication with his audience. And now every person with a simple smartphone instantly can become an artist! Media have greatly extended the possibilities of using the art therapy, have reduced the fear of one’s own creativity and have helped to share ones results with others and to receive support.

The use of art-therapeutic methodology creates opportunities for facilitating the media consumers to end the role of «passive consumers» of media products. It helps to prevent the psycho-emotional disturbances and to promote the development of a reflective stance when interacting with the media. This is an important step towards creating a healthy, active and conscious personal position to media.

The mechanisms of therapeutic influence in media-art-therapy are: catharsis, creative expression (through new media), emotional support (that can grow significantly if pieces of one’s own creativity are shared through Internet), awareness of one’s own uniqueness, group identity (sense of belonging to the community), value of communication and joint creativity awareness, projection, reflection, awareness and construction of new meanings. The development of media competence in the process of media-creativity leads to the increase of self-evaluation and to the improvement of communication quality. This is very essential for working with psychotraumatisation.

Results. The training «Art Therapy Techniques for Conflict Resolution and Peacemaking» inside the «Women’s Voice has a Power» project is implemented by the Human Rights Foundation and is funded by the Institute for International Cultural Relations (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) by means of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Auswärtiges Amt). The training was based on the art therapy methodology in its wide sense i.e. a healing method that uses any kind of art and particularly the media-art-therapy.

The aim of the training was to understand the possibilities of the latest informational society technologies; to learn tools and methods to create the peacemaking content. The animation movie "Own Truth" (Своя правда, 2018) was one of the training results. Animation as an art appeared two decades earlier than classical cinema and up until today contributes to the modern «screen reality». Animation has fundamentally different organization of the production process than in the movies i.e. making separate shoots. It expands the experimental boundaries and the ability to embody fictional images.

The theme of the animated film was determined by the theme of the training – conflict and peacemaking. The plasticine animation was proposed for the implementation. Plasticine was chosen as the material that contributes the best as the response to the strong feelings of conflicts and traumas of war: fear, anger, aversion, etc.

Activity of creating a fine art in many cases is a very important communicational tool that enables a person to build a more harmonious relationship with the outside world. The participants tried themselves in the role of scriptwriters, directors, animators, operators, video editors, sound directors and so on. None of the training participants has tried to create animation before. It was a new experience for each of them.

Limitations and strengths of the study. This participation experience has raised the media culture of the participants, and has allowed everyone to express their feelings related to military actions, as the participants of the training were mostly temporary displaced people from the combat zone in the East of Ukraine. Everyone could be heard, everyone has realized his or her traumatic experience, which was then translated into a symbolic form of the animated film.

Originality / Conclusions. Today art therapy as a method of healing the personality by the means of art requires understanding of new possibilities of the informational world, the emergence on a new level of understanding of healing mechanisms through the use of media in the creative process. The use of the media-art-therapy creates the environment to express the accumulated feelings including the ones that were created as the result of the interaction with media. That is an important condition to prevent the mediastraumatization and to raise the media culture of the person. Our experience has proven that media-art-therapy is an adequate method for resolving conflicts both in real groups and for the implementation of peacemaking initiatives in large communities.

Practical / Social value. Sharing of the personally created media-content enables a person to spread their message to the large audience. This contributes to the social adaptation of the temporary displaced people, and helps them to cope with the effects of mental traumatization and to integrate with the new community.

Keywords: psychology trauma, social conflict, telecommunications, resettlement of persons, peacekeeping, Ukraine, social rehabilitation, media art therapy.


1. Voznesenska O., Sidorkina M. (2016). Art-therapy as treatment of mental trauma. Textbook. Kyiv. (Вознесенська, О.Л., Сидоркіна, М.Ю. (2016). Арт-терапія у подоланні психічної травми: Практичний посібник. Вид. 2е: випр. та доповн. Київ: Золоті ворота).

2. Voznesenska O., Sknar O. (2017). Encyclopedia of Art-therapy. Kyiv (Вознесенська, О.Л., Скнар, О.М. (ed.). (2017). Енциклопедичний словник з арт-терапії. Київ: Видавець ФОП Назаренко Т. В.)

3. Own truth (2018, Jule). Retrieved from (Своя правда (2018, Jule). Retrieved from

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