Socio-cultural and emotional challenges perpetrated on learners have devastating effects on their academic performance if not timeously abetted with counselling. School-based counselling which helps resolve emotional disorders, remove barriers, negotiate power, and resolve injustices is not a common practice in all schools in the global south. This concept paper interrogates the efficacy and prevalence of art therapy as a form of school-based counselling or psychotherapy which integrates visual arts, creative process, interpretation and models of counselling to help and support victims of social and emotional stress. Art therapy is a form of counselling neglected in Zimbabwean and South African schools. This psychotherapeutic practise has a very strong tradition in the global north unlike in the global south albeit the various benefits it has shown in learners, patients, individuals and groups’ behavioural change and healing. This paper therefore, aims to contribute to the comparative education body of scholarship demonstrating the efficacy of art therapy and visual engagement in soothing the soul, alleviating emotional stress and anxiety affecting learners’ academic and social life at school.
Keywords: Art therapy, counselling, visual interpretation, reflection, critical consciousness