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African therapeutic model of transformation (ATMT) as a preventive, rehabilitation and treatment method for persons susceptible to mental health problems in Australia Over the past decade, health psychologists have cautiously begun looking at how the arts might be used in a variety of ways to heal emotional injuries, increase understanding of oneself and others, develop a capacity for self-reflection, reduce symptoms, and alter behaviors and thinking patterns. The experience of the founder of CCPE through his experience in engaging survivors of torture in places of detention in Africa found that psychological and physiological effects are sustainably health enhancing thus making it an important area for innovative strategies. The African Therapeutic model of transformation offers a socially acceptable approach to treating common mental disorders to decrease pressure among the distressed. ATMT originates from the analysis of appropriate indigenous socio-cultural-spiritual values and practices that were used to develop and implement culturally responsive mental health interventions and treatment. They include collectivistic sense of group belonging that can buffer against isolation, inclusion of the family in decision-making for greater social support, holistic perceptions of health, use of dance and music that facilitate group cohesion and psychotherapy. Although the model was first applied migrant communities from Africa it has been found to be appropriate to indigenous Australians and migrants from other parts of the world. It embraces social and cultural dynamics that are common throughout many segments of the Australian population. Globalization, bringing with it the need to embrace the broad cultural diversity around how personal and societal philosophies interoperate, puts a premium on finding more effective ways to create and share meaning and meaningfulness. This need for meaning and relevance in daily experience has long been recognized as one of the fundamental driving forces in artistic creation and engagement. In many African communities creative expression has been found to make a powerful contribution to the healing process. ATMT is a music and drama based social therapy that facilitates the re-establishment of values, norms, and relationships and at the same time provide the opportunity for debate, the sharing of experiences and coping mechanisms. The pleasure shared by participants in the healing process through a creative arts and music therapy program can help to restore emotional balance as well. The message conveyed through songs and drama is that the lives of asylum seekers, the lonely, the chronically ill, the unemployed and others who have experienced fear can be changed, so that they have the skills and confidence to respond constructively to their fears, and can find ways to live their lives in full. Music can calm neural activity in the brain, which may lead to reductions in anxiety, and that it may help to restore effective functioning in the immune system. Art helps people express experiences that are too difficult to put into words, such as a diagnosis of cancer. Some people with cancer explore the meanings of past, present, and future during art therapy, thereby integrating cancer into their life story and giving it meaning

Dialogue on humanity- unlocking potential

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