"A true (and healthy) way of relieving oneself of pain, anger,
frustration and depression.
No ordinary painting class but
a true form of therapy.”
- male prisoner  L - (41) - the USA

Task 1(2): The Target of My Anger - painted with the non-dominant hand, acrylic paint & plastic card

X-PAIN-T® is an innovative non-verbal process for emotion regulation, stress and anger release through bilateral expressive painting. Both the non-dominant and dominant hand is used with the aim to stimulate memories and experiences that reside in both the left and right hemisphere of the brain.

X-PAIN-T® has primarily been developed as an in-prison perpetrator intervention program and tested among prisoners in the U.S.A., South Africa, the Philippines and former prisoners in Australia.

X-PAIN-T® as a creative hands-on approach, has proved to be both popular and effective in addressing behavioural and attitudinal change among diverse prison populations.

Further clients include: prison staff, combat veterans, youth at risk, child victims of human trafficking, visually impaired adults, social workers, students and school children.

Current base for X-PAIN-T® is Turku, Finland, but group workshops/individual sessions can be arranged elsewhere in Finland as well as internationally.


• To have a creative outlet for self-expression and self-management without the recourse of medication. To make the invisible, visible!

• To have non-verbal tools is pivotal considering linguistic and cultural diversities as well as varying cognitive skills, which feels less threatening to many who may not feel comfortable with verbal disclosure.

• To have a safe - drug-free - and constructive outlet for emotion regulation when dealing with challenging/destructive feelings, thoughts and emotions (shame, guilt, fear, grief, loneliness etc).

• To have a multi-sensory hands-on outlet. As sensory beings we experience the world with all our senses (touch, sight, hearing, smell, taste).

• To use our hands and produce a product we can look at, talk about, feel, touch, or tear apart, contributes positively to our emotional well-being. As humans we evolved to use our hands (instead of pushing buttons).


Anger is a normal human emotion. But it is the suppressed and misdirected secondary anger that is the problem. A child, regardless of socioeconomic status, may be the victim of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, all unconsciously enraging. The abused child may feel sad, unhappy, or scared, but anger is forbidden – that prohibition is built in. What we don't express, we suppress/repress.

Many things may cause unconscious and conscious anger. Together they may be responsible for rage in the unconscious and sometimes a seemingly minor/trivial incident may trigger violence towards another individual who had nothing to do with the initial conflict, i.e. the origin of the anger.

Internet hate speech and road rage are examples of misdirected and externalized anger turned into rage. The origin of the anger/rage/aggression/violence is stemming from earlier events when it has not been possible to express emotions, either out of fear or a culture of not expressing emotions. Much of the suppressed and unexpressed anger is stemming from Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE Study).

Read more about ACE Study


Tina Borg - X-PAIN-T® Creator & Coach

To South Africa on a mission with a vision: to test X-PAIN-T® in prison. Finnish-born Tina embarked on a journey that took her to South Africa in 2003: to test her hypotheses and the effectiveness of the X-PAIN-T® method among South African prisoners, a method she has been developing during 20 years. Her hypotheses: 1) X-PAIN-T® provides tools to rehabilitate violent individuals and 2) there is a link between childhood adverse experiences (neglect and abuse - including physical punishment) and aggressive and anti-social behaviour later. Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize award-winner Desmond M. Tutu, became patron of X-PAIN-T®.



I am impressed with what you have been doing and appreciate your commitment and dedication to helping and supporting some of the most marginalized members of our society. I therefore accept your invitation to be a Patron of the Expressive Art Program (X-PAIN-T).

I hope that my association with your work will enable you to encourage others to support your valuable service and that you will be able to apply your considerable gifts to helping the many members of our society whom have been neglected and let down.

– Desmond M. Tutu (2004), Archbishop Emeritus Nobel Peace Prize Laureate


”The degree of violence, rage and aggressive behavior (the fight/flight response) appears to correlate with abuse and deprivation as children. Studies of male criminal convicted of violent aggressive crimes show that a majority of these criminals have suffered severe physical and/or sexual abuse as children.”

– Dr. Robert Scaer – author of 'The Body Bears the Burden'

Read more:

McGill University. "Youth violence lower in countries with complete ban on corporal punishment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2018.