There's been a lot of bashing against art therapy in the wake of the failed Christmas day terrorist attempt - trying to twist the fact that because part of the rehab program for some jihadists in Saudi Arabia includes art therapy, that is somehow to blame for this latest terrorist attempt. Here is a good response from Cathy Malchiodi in Psychology Today:
When I first read about the program using art therapy with jihadists I was impressed. I know from personal experience the power of art therapy to heal trauma and create fundamental shifts within one's psyche. Can art therapy "heal" a terrorist? I don't know. As Malchiodi indicates in her article there is a lot of anecdotal evidence about the power of art therapy and very little scientifically supportable research. The more common alternatives - prison, torture, etc. - will certainly NOT change a jihadist's mind, but will rather create martyrs for the cause and fuel the fire for more and more violence. I am not saying that the perpetrators of terrorist violence should not be held accountable and incarcerated. But if there are any tools that can shift the desire for this violence within a man's (or woman's) heart, by all means let's use them! Certainly, the use of art therapy did not CAUSE the terrorist act and maybe - just maybe - it prevented one or more other similar acts.