Robles de la Vega, Alejandro

From a country at war to a shelter in Germany. Experience of art therapy with refugee children.
 

De un país en guerra a un albergue en Alemania. Experiencia de Arteterapia con niños refugiados.
 

Alejandro Robles de la Vega
 

After the refugee crisis, which had the highest peak in 2015, Germany has been the European country with the biggest arrival of asylum seekers. The challenge consists in offering them a safe space with an optimistic future, and that means not only home and work, but also a therapeutic assistance to deal with events related with the current episode of their life stories, like feelings of rootlessness, rupture, loss, grief, fear, anxiety and trauma. Children are not exempt from those issues, and while their parents are expressing themselves with therapists who share the same mother tongue, children cannot find the language that gives them the scope to deal with what they need to communicate. This is the context in which the indication of art therapy appears.

This paper aims to present the focus of art therapy with refugee children who are living in German shelters and are building a new life that their parents’ generation had not foreseen for them. They are going to school in the German system, with a completely new language and taking some patterns of a new culture. However, when they arrive at home in their provisory place to stay, they find their roots and the connection with elements which exist only by the warmth of the family: their habits, traditions and religion, their mother tongue, memories of the past and of people who are not there anymore…

The setting of art therapy sessions lets them explore their identity, define their personal goals and reach their welfare. They can develop themselves in a neutral space where there is a togetherness of all their cultures, but at the same time none of them. They always start with a white paper on which they can paint the life that they want to live today.

 

De un país en guerra a un albergue en Alemania. Experiencia de Arteterapia con niños refugiados

Después de la crisis de los refugiados, que tuvo su punto máximo en 2015, Alemania ha sido el país europeo con la cifra más alta de solicitantes de asilo. El reto de ofrecerles un lugar seguro con un futuro próspero no se queda únicamente en encontrar un hogar y un trabajo, sino que también supone brindarles una atención terapéutica para elaborar sucesos asociados al presente episodio de sus vidas, como el desarraigo, la ruptura, la pérdida, el duelo, el miedo, la ansiedad y el trauma. Los niños no están exentos de estos asuntos, y mientras que sus padres cuentan con el apoyo de terapeutas con la misma lengua materna, los niños tienen dificultades para encontrar una lengua que les permita expresar aquello que están dispuestos a elaborar. Es en este contexto donde surge la indicación de Arteterapia.

En esta comunicación se presenta el trabajo en Arteterapia con niños refugiados que viven en albergues alemanes e intentan construir una nueva vida que no era la esperada por sus progenitores. Van al colegio como el resto de alemanes, con un idioma diferente al suyo y adquieren patrones de una nueva cultura. sin embargo, cuando llegan a casa bajo un techo provisional, se encuentran con sus raíces y la conexión con elementos que únicamente existen en su núcleo familiar: las costumbres, tradiciones y la religión, su lengua materna, los recuerdos de paisajes y personas que no continúan ahí.

El encuadre arteterapéutico les permite explorar su identidad, definir sus objetivos personales y alcanzar el bienestar. Pueden desarrollarse en un espacio neutral donde hay una comunión de sus culturas, o de ninguna de ellas al mismo tiempo. El comienzo es siempre el mismo: un papel en blanco en el que pintar la vida que hoy quieren vivir.

 

Biography

Alejandro Robles de la Vega Art therapist at Universidad Complutense de Madrid in 2013, who previously studied Social Education at the University of Málaga and Laboral Social Integration at the University of Valencia.

Alejandro has worked in the field of social work – in prisons, with addictions and with teenagers - as well as in education (kindergarten and schools). As an art therapist, he has developed his profession in hospitals with groups of women with eating disorders, in schools with students under stress, and with refugees in shelters.

Since 2013 he has coordinated the Spanish e-magazine Sublimarte (www.sublimarte.es), publishing articles from all around the world. To date, ten issues of the magazine have been published.

 

Recent Publications

The paint brush as vehicle to unconsciousness.  In: Sublimarte magazine: https://issuu.com/revistasublimarte/docs/n5_09_15/14?e=8974876/15125029

Identity through the mirror, an experience of Art Therapy. Congress of Art Therapy FEAPA.

Humanity, identity and technologic development, Congress of good practices with TIC for the investigation: http://suvi.es/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/humanidad-identidad-y-desarrollo-tecnologico.pdf

Experience of the project “Aula TIC” with long term employed, Congress TIC, education and society: (https://suvi.es/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/la-tecla-para-que-no-explote-el-ordenador.pdf)