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The use of social media has been considered as one of the causes of increased disordered eating as it can have an extremely negative impact on young women, causing distortions on their body image followed by a sense of hopelessness and depression. However, there is not enough knowledge on the impact of specific aspects of social media use. It seems to be a discrepancy in how these young women perceive disordered eating in themselves versus in others. Studies have also showed the lack of safe spaces that these young women feel they have to talk about their relationship with their bodies and food.

What sort of prevention and intervention programs need to be developed to help them in the short and long-term? Words cannot always label how these young people feel, whereas expressive movement could reveal not only what they already know but also the unknown. When our dances are connected to our real-life issues in this manner, it is called the Life/Art Process.

This multi-modal art approach was designed by Anna Halprin from the Tamalpa Institute in California, USA. It is my intention to introduce this method as a programme to help young people deal with their relationship with their bodies.This method of working with dance seeks to access the life story of each person and then use it as the ground for creating art. It is based upon the principle that as life experience deepens, personal art expression expands, and as art expression expands, life experience deepens.

As a result of a deep exploration using movement, breath awareness, sensations, emotions and imagery, people connect with an authentic experience to deal with their struggles through dance, music, sounds, writing and drawing. This helps them to generate new life situations and possible long-term changes. People can creatively identify life concerns, developing problem-solving models including feedback, active listening, scoring activities based on a specific theme, and finally sharing reflections on personal and collective material to integrate personal and social change.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. To be more aware of the recent studies looking at the link between the arts and mental health in young people
  2. To remind ourselves the negative impact that social media could have on young people
  3. To learn about the Life/Art Process, created by the Tamalpa Institute and how this programme could help this group of people
  4. To understand the theories that inspired this approach
  5. To read a case study showing how the Life/ Art Process could be applied in a specific setting
  6. To reflect upon a more holistic practice that could include art as a healing medium to help young people with eating disorders

Speaker

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