[Sponsored Report] GS Caltex arts therapy is healing young minds

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[Sponsored Report] GS Caltex arts therapy is healing young minds

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Children participating in the healing program pose at the GS Caltex art and culture center known as Yeulmaru in Yeousu.

Koreans aspire to so-called “healing” nowadays as the nation ranks lowest among 23 OECD countries in children’s happiness, according to a 2013 study by the Korea Bang Jeong-hwan Foundation and Yonsei University Institute for Social Development Studies. So the healing program from GS Caltex turned out to be a practical contribution to social change.

Down in Yeosu, the change already has begun. At the company’s art and culture center called Yeulmaru, children are welcomed by art therapists and volunteers, known as guardian angels, and begin three days of a healing journey by naming themselves. After a brief psychological examination, they are grouped with friends who need similar therapy.

Activities allow them to work individually and in cooperation. Children start looking into their inner selves through drawing, dance and acting. It is especially effective for younger ones who find it difficult to express their emotions verbally. They share the scars with friends and learn how to relieve stress, while practicing artistic skills and preparing for their own concert on the final day.

The integrated arts group therapy program launched this year exclusively for children is called maeum talk talk. The combination of the words maeum, meaning mind, and the English word talk represent participants coming together and healing scars by opening their minds.

It is the first corporate social responsibility (CSR) program of its kind in Korea. The program actively contributes to the overall development of art therapy and art therapists, from research and development of a new treatment model to fostering future practitioners.

Last year, the company started looking for a sustainable CSR project to find fundamental solutions to social issues. Given that children are Korea’s future, GS Caltex employees agreed that healing the scars of socially marginalized kids could be an immediate and long-tem goal.

Such a perspective led the company to focus on training supervisor-level art therapists. Once first-generation therapists go out into the field, they talk to more children and run curriculum to produce the next generation of local therapists. The process repeats itself and results in more therapists serving more children.

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