The Zakheni Arts Therapy Foundation is a registered Non Profit Organisation and Section 21 Company that provides psychological and emotional support to children, adolescents and adults through the medium of the creative arts therapies. It was founded in 2001 by Art Therapist Linda Souchon and Dramatherapist Kirsten Meyer. The vision of the Foundation is to provide psychological, emotional and social support to improve the wellbeing of children, adolescents and adults through the Creative Arts Therapies.
Our core business is providing creative arts workshops, training and supervision for Child and Youth careworkers, Dramatherapy in Schools and the use of Playback Theatre, in order to strengthen psychosocial support service to vulnerable children. Zakheni contracts the services of a collection of Art, Drama, Music and Play Therapists who work in collaboration with Community Arts Practitioners.
Our objectives are to:
Provide psychological and emotional support services to children, adolescents and adults through the medium of the Creative Arts Therapies. Partner with likeminded organizations in order to develop their capacity to provide effective, child appropriate psychosocial support programmes. Provide community creative arts psycho-social support services. Enhance and support the wellbeing of Care Workers and Health Professionals Art, Drama, Music and Movement Therapies are young and dynamic professions in South Africa. One of the biggest national social needs in South Africa at present is for support during and healing from traumas within our current and historical socio/political context. The arts therapies have consistently proven to be effective in addressing individual difficulties as well as group dynamics because of the way in which internal material can surface in a non-intrusive way.
The Zakheni Arts Therapy Foundation works with the arts in a unique way, combining therapy and healing with the arts. The creative arts have always been an intrinsic part of a community’s capacity to express, support and heal. In ancient times, through ritual drama, primitive art, dance and music, communities came together in a positive and creative way to share and reflect on what was going on in their daily lives. Even now, art, theatre, dance and music are used as tools in society as ways of reflecting on present day issues. The artist has a chance to express their individual views, feelings, hopes, concerns and in this way the Arts can be used as platforms for healing. The Arts Therapies provide creative ways of expressing oneself that does not rely only on words. The use of metaphor becomes a container for one’s feelings, giving form to them that otherwise would not be able to find expression.
Zakheni works predominantly within communites affected by trauma, poverty, HIV and conflict. It is well documented that the majority of South Africans have experienced trauma, or are existing within ongoing traumatic circumstances. “The core experiences of psychological trauma are disempowerment and disconnection from others. Recovery, therefore, is based on upon the empowerment of the survivor and the creation of new connections” (Hermann, 1992, p133) The arts provide a safe non-verbal means for expression without feeling overwhelmed, where a mind body connection can be facilitated and a safe way can be provided to help organise and process difficult life events. Zakheni runs a number of projects including a Schools Dramatherapy Project and capacity building and training for careworkers working with vulnerable children and a Playback Theatre Company.