What is ABT?

What is Arts Based Therapy (ABT)?

ABT (arts based therapy) is evidence-based use of art forms to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship.  The practice of ABT is based on use of various art forms like music, drama, visual arts etc, to address specific therapeutic goals. The ABT model for India was customized & structured by WCCL Foundation in 2005-06, during a project supported by the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust & Allied Trusts.

ABT derives theoretical basis from the Indian Mind Traditions, notably Buddhist Psychology and Ethics further interfaced with information from Physics, Neurosciences and Contemporary Psychology. The Artistic Tools for therapy are derived from the works of Dr. Sue Jennings, Arthur Hull, Heather MacTavish and Eastern traditions of Sacred Spaces, Mandals, and Zen.

Since 2006, the model has been systematically implemented in various NGOs/Institutions in India. WCCL-Trained ABT practitioners have put the model through the rigours of long-term action research whilst working with various special needs populations, resulting in more than 220 research reports. The theoretical framework has been rigourously refined with the help of Scholars and Practitioners from the Indian Mind Traditions.

The rigour of action research in the field and continuous dialogue with scholars ensures that the model is improved and kept current, as evidenced by fact that the handbooks are already in their fourth edition.  The ABT model aspires to combine Indian Mind Traditions and Creative Approaches to Therapy.

Clinical Uses & Goals

ABT has been found suitable for the following categories of special needs:

Intervention Format

ABT can be practiced in a group or with individual clients, dyads or triads. In the case of halfway homes, de-addiction centres etc, ABT can be applied to a ‘floating population’ wherein, the members keep changing, but they are coming with similar issues.


Theoretical Orientation & Lineages

The theoretical foundations of ABT are rooted in Buddhist Philosophy from the Nalanda Tradition.

To know more click the following link –
Nalanda Tradition in Contemporary Practice of ABT In India.

Assessment & Evaluation

A variety of assessment domains are charted out, and they help focus awareness on a particular dimension of the client. As the client is perceived holistically, it is possible to set correct therapeutic goals for their healing (WCCLF 2013).

Multiple tools and methods like – Rating Scales, Observation Checklists, Standard Tests, Audio-Visual documentation, and artistic tools – are assembled together to reflect the progress or changes noted in a client / group over a period of time in the ABT intervention.

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