Hector Aristizábal was born in Medellin, Colombia during a long and violent civil war. During the conflict Hector was arrested and tortured by the Colombian army and later his brother was tortured and murdered by paramilitary forces. Hector escaped Colombia but it took him many years to heal from the pain and trauma of his brothers death and the violence he himself had experienced.
‘How can people process their pain, or their sense of being betrayed, or their fears, in a world that is constantly feeding them fear.’
Searching for ways to heal himself and others he became a therapist, using art and theatre to create spaces where people can use their creative energy and imagination to heal as individuals and as communities.
‘We need healing spaces. Spaces to use the body, emotions, symbolic languages, music, dance, movement, sound, stories and myths .. to ask questions about our lives’
He has worked across the world, with gangs in LA, refugees in Syria, and now with former combatants and victims of violence in his homeland of Colombia. Sharing with others the practices that have enabled healing within himself.
‘I am not there to heal them, to change them, I am there to heal WITH them, to change WITH them, to learn WITH them and to transform WITH them’
Hector believes that we all need to heal, not only those who have experienced the most extreme forms of violence or abuse. That everyone has been wounded in some way by the unjust world in which we live. And he believes that healing these wounds is critical to the process of transformation both as individuals, communities, societies and the world.
LEARN MORE: In this video (created for Teach For All) Hector talks in depth about how he creates spaces for healing..
LEARN MORE: In this video from Teach For All‘s Global Conference, Hector shares his personal journey of healing himself and with others..
LEARN MORE: Hector performs a play based on his experiences of torture..