Ava Homa is author of Echoes from the Other Land which was just nominated for the world's largest short story award: 2011 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Ava is a Kurdish-Canadian, writer-in-exile, with two Masters’ degrees one in English and Creative Writing, another in English Language and Literature. Echoes from the Other Land has a running theme of resistance by modern Iranian women under an oppressive regime. The stories are told on a universal scale, depicting human endurance, desire and passion. Ava’s writings have appeared in English, Kurdish and Farsi journals, as well as the Windsor Review and the Toronto Star newspaper. She was a writer in Iran, and university faculty member. In Toronto, Ava writes and teaches Creative Writing and English at George Brown College.
Recovery through Creative Expression in Kurdistan
The pen is mightier than the pill,” (Bower, 1999)
Alfred Lange, a clinical psychologist in Amsterdam has published studies of working with people who had used structured writing to overcome trauma and symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (Lange 1994, 1996). Painting, music and handicrafts have proven to help reduce anxiety and promote positive psychological emotions. By stimulating mind, creative expression creates pleasure and satisfaction in the patrons. These effects can help individual with what Antonovsky names Sense of Coherence (SOC). Individuals with higher SOC will come up with the best coping strategies to deal with stressful situation (Dilani 2011). After years of being exposed to violence: unearthing mass graves, witnessing loved ones die in a chemical attack or being abducted by government soldiers, the surviving but traumatized Kurds need creative expressions in form of literature and art to help youth and adult equally to recover stressful experiences. The freedom and release individuals can finds in creative expression is an affective form of therapy. Mental health care professionals agree that one of the most helpful ways to work through mourning is to express grief in a creative form to represent inner experience, develop awareness and support personal change. Adding creative expression workshops to Kurdistan schools, libraries and community centers help transform lives, instill happiness and above and beyond that enrich Kurdish art and culture.
Keywords: Creative Expression, Trauma, Sense of Coherence, Art Therapy, Writing Therapy