Chakrabarti, O et al

SAMAGAMA – Dialogues on the development of creative arts therapies education in India

Oihika Chakrabarti, Nina Cherla, Maitri Gopalakrishna,Tripura Kashyap 


In Indian Sanskrit and Buddhist Pali terms, Samagama means union, meeting, association, concert or simply coming together. In English the derivative word is Sangam, meaning the confluence of a river with its tributaries. Like the many tributaries of a river, this panel proposes to bring together creative arts therapy practitioners from the diverse disciplines of dance/movement, art, drama and music, all pioneers in their own right with many years of experience contributing to Indian soil, to dialogue and discuss the myriad perspectives of arts therapies education and practice in India.

The panel will attempt to unearth current trends in arts therapies training that exist on the ground today and will make a conscious effort to present the Indian scenario from the multiple perspectives of the different disciplines. The panellists will also shed light on their own processes of acculturation and their striving to incorporate indigenous processes to make their work culturally relevant in India. They will also talk about the ethical concerns that practitioners are faced with, in the absence of any formal education, professional training or regulatory bodies and the need for setting up of ethical standards and guidelines both within the evolutionary domains of practice and education of the diverse disciplines in India.

The panellists will comprise of Tripura Kashyap - Certified dance/movement therapist, Maitri Gopalakrishna - certified drama therapist, Nina Cherla - certified music therapist and Oihika Chakrabarti, certified art psychotherapist, in the dual role of moderator and panellist, all from India. Through the length of these dialogues, they hope to arrive at a consensus and show the way forward for creative arts therapies education to gain credibility and recognition in order to fulfil the vision towards formal education, one that will lead to the professionalizing of these fields for future generations of practitioners to come in India.


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ভারতীয় ভাষা "সংস্কৃতে' এবং বৌদ্ধভাষা "পালিতে' "সমাগম' শব্দটির মানে - মিলন, সমাবেশ, সংঘ, ঐক্য, বা সোজা কথায় একত্র হওয়া z ইংরেজিতে প্রকৃতি প্রত্যয়গত শব্দটি হচ্ছে সংগম, যার মানে একটি নদীর তার উপনদীর  সাথে মিলনস্থান z একটি নদীর অনেক উপনদীর মত, নামাঙ্কিতেরা প্রস্তাব করেছেন, নৃত্য/বিচলন, শিল্প, নাটক, সঙ্গীত প্রভৃতি বিভিন্ন শিল্পক্ষেত্রের সৃজনমূলক শিল্পচিকিৎসকরা, যাঁরা তাঁদের স্ব-অধিকারে প্রবর্তক ও ভারতের মাটিতে তাঁদের বহু বছরের অভিজ্ঞাতার অবদান আছে, তাঁরা ভারতে শিল্প-চিকিৎসার অসংখ্য আকৃতি নিয়ে যথানুপাতিক চর্চা ও অনুশীলন বিষয়ক কথোপকথন ও আলোচনা করুন z


নামাঙ্কিতেরা আবিষ্কার করতে চেষ্টা করবেন বর্তমানে যে প্রবণতা শিল্প-চিকিৎসা শিক্ষায় আছে, এবং একটি সচেতন প্রচেষ্টা করবেন বিভিন্ন শিক্ষার বহুবিধ দর্শনানুপাত হইতে ভারতীয় দৃশ্যপট উপস্থাপন করতে z নামাঙ্কিতেরা আলোকপাতও করবেন তাঁদের নিজ প্রক্রিয়ায় অপর সভ্যতা হইতে প্রথাদি গ্রহণের ধারার ওপর এবং তাঁদের সাগ্রহ চেষ্টার ওপর যা একত্র মিশ্রনে এক দেহভুক্ত হয়ে সংস্কৃতিগতভাবে প্রাসঙ্গিক হবে ভারতে z তাঁরা নৈতিক E­à­Nl কথাও বলবেন, যা পেশাদারীদের সামনা সামনি হতে হয়, যা প্রথাগত শিক্ষা, পেশাদারী হাতে-কলমে শিক্ষার, নিয়ন্ত্রণকারক শিক্ষার অভাবগত, এবং নৈতিকমান ও নীতি সম্পর্কে নির্দেশাবলীর প্রয়োজন, যা চর্চার বিবর্ধনমূলক এবং ভিন্ন অভ্যাস শিক্ষার এলাকাভুক্ত, ভারতবর্ষে z


নামাঙ্কিতদের গঠন করা হবে - ত্রিপুরা কাশ্যপ - শংসাপত্র প্রাপ্ত নৃত্য/বিচলন চিকিৎসক, মৈত্রী ­N¡f¡mL«o·¡, - শংসাপ্রাপ্ত নাট্য চিকিৎসক, নীনা চেরলা - শংসাপ্রাপ্ত সঙ্গীত চিকিৎসক, এবং I¢qL¡ চক্রবর্তী - শংসাপ্রাপ্ত শিল্প-মনঃসমীক্ষক, মধ্যস্থতা করবেন z তালিকাভুক্ত সবাই ভারতে কার্যরত z এই বিস্তৃত কথোপকথনের ভেতর দিয়ে তাঁরা আশা করছেন একমতে পৌঁছুতে এবং সৃজনমূলক শিল্প-চিকিৎসা শিক্ষার ক্ষেত্রে পথপ্রদর্শন করতে, সৃজন-মূলক শিল্প-চিকিৎসার শিক্ষায় বিশ্বাসযোগ্যতা ও স্বীকৃতি অর্জনে নিয়ম মাফিক শিক্ষার প্রত্যাশা কার্যকর করতে, যা এই সকল ক্ষেত্রের পেশাদারীত্বের এবং ভারতের ভাবি পেশাদার বংশধরদের পথ দেখাবে z


Biography and Recent Publications & Conference Presentations

India’s pioneering art psychotherapist, Oihika Chakrabarti was awarded the Commonwealth Scholarship to pursue Post Graduate training in Art Psychotherapy at Goldsmiths College, University of London in 1997. She started her work at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in 1999, spearheading the first art psychotherapy service in the country at Wadia Children’s Hospital, Mumbai.

In 2004 she founded Manahkshetra Foundation to expand the scope of the field. With nearly two decades of clinical, rehabilitative, post-disaster/humanitarian and training work, she introduced art therapy at TISS, WBSU and has conducted lectures at NYU (USA) and Srinikharinwarriott University (Bangkok), supervising students from the Chicago Institute of Fine Arts, TISS and Nottingham University.

Currently a global ambassador for ECArTE, peer reviewer of Goldsmith’s online journal and International mentor for AATA, she has her private practice and is a consultant trainer with British Council, Kolkata. Oihika is in her final year of the professional doctorate in art therapy at Mount Mary University, USA and leading the formation of the art therapy association in India.


Chakrabarti, O. (2018). Genesis of a new cultural model – Envisioning the scope for art therapy in India.  In: Hougham, R., Pitruzzella, S. and Scoble, S. Cultural Landscapes in the Arts Therapies, ECArTE

Chakrabarti, O. (2018) From bystander to engaged witness: Drawing the connection between social action and the scope for art therapy within the framework of social work in India. In Huss, E., Bos, E. (eds) Art in Social Work Practice; Theory and Practice: International Perspectives, Routledge publication. 

2015: Art Therapy Association (AATA) Conference, Minneapolis, USA.

2015: European Consortium of Art Therapy Education (ECArTE) Conference, Palermo, Italy.

2016: International Art Therapy Conference at Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK.


Tripura Kashyap pioneered creative movement therapy in India and co-founded the Creative Movement Therapy Association of India.  She studied dance movement therapy at Hancock Centre, USA and has a Masters’ in Psychology.  She received fellowships from Ashoka International Foundation and Indian Ministry of Culture for her innovative work in movement therapy and contemporary dance. She has collaborated with filmmakers, visual artists and musicians on cross-art projects and performances.

Tripura was projects coordinator for Bhoomika Dance Company and creative consultant for ‘Dance-in-Education’ program at the Attakkalari Centre. She worked as a movement therapist with special schools, treatment centres, half-way homes, senior citizen facilities, rehabilitation centres and educational institutions with children, adults and senior citizens in Bengaluru. She is Associate Project Consultant for Sublime's Teaching for Artistic Innovation conceived by Prestige foundation. She travels widely to strengthen the ecosystem for dance movement therapy and dance-in-education in India through workshops, talks and lecture-demonstrations.

My Body, My Wisdom - a hand book on Creative Dance Therapy published by Penguin (India) 

Contemporary dance - Practices, Paradigms and Practitioners published by AAYU Publications (India) 

‘Dance movement therapy’ workshop presented at All India Institute of Medical Sciences conference, New Delhi.

‘Therapeutic Dance and Dance Therapy’ workshop presented at National Institute of Mental health and Neuro Sciences conference, Bangalore

‘Therapeutic dance in education’ Workshop presented at dance movement therapy conference, Christ University, Bangalore


Maitri Gopalakrishna is a drama therapist and counselling psychologist based in Bangalore India. She works in therapeutic, educational and community settings using both process and performance aspects of theatre with individuals and groups. Besides drama therapy, her work draws on feminism, narrative approaches and theories of Augusto Boal. Maitri has an MA from the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco and an PhD in from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. 


Gopalakrishna, M., & Rao, S. (2017). Performance, revelation and resistance: Interweaving the artistic and the therapeutic in devised theatre. Indian Theatre Journal, 1(1), 83–90.

Sajnani, N., & Gopalakrishna, M. (2017). Rasa: Exploring the influence of Indian performance theory in drama therapy. Drama Therapy Review, 3(2), 225–240.

Gopalakrishna, M. et al (2018). Positively Shameless: Ensemble Therapeutic Performance on Residues of Childhood Sexual Abuse. Performance to be presented at the 39th Annual Conference of the North American Drama Therapy Association, Kansas City, USA

Gopalakrishna, M (2018). Performing Drama Therapy Practice-Research in India. Presentation scheduled for the 39th Annual Conference of the North American Drama Therapy Association, Kansas City, USA

Gopalakrishna, M. (2017). Drama Therapy to explore Challenges in the Workplace and Navigate/Embrace/Challenge the Culture of Physics. Workshops facilitated at the Career Development Workshop for Women in Physics, International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy.

Nina Cherla (MA Music Therapy, USW, UK) is a clinical music therapist based in Malmo, Sweden. Her professional experience includes a decade of work in public healthcare working for individuals with special needs in both Sweden, India and the UK. She has collaborated with many well-known organisations such as Music as Therapy International, Shankar Foundation and The Music Therapy Trust. Nina currently works as a lecturer at Furuboda Folkhögskola as well as a clinical music therapist specialising in children with social and communication difficulties. She frequently conducts workshops and training programs and is an advocate for music therapy both in Sweden and in India.


Music Therapy for people with dementia in a daycare setting: Case study (ARDSI-CON, Mysuru,India, 2016)

The importance of Skill sharing in Music Therapy (Creative Movement Therapy Association of India (CMTAI) with (Psychology Dept) Christ University announces its 4th Annual International Conference: ‘Multi-faceted Movement Approaches: Enhancing the Mind-Body Nexus’, Bengaluru, India, 2017)

Discussion Panel - Redefining Disability through Art, (International Symposium, University of Delhi, Delhi, India, 2018)