Art Therapy

A Safe Place utilizes Art Therapy, an evidence based practice, in our work with children and adults affected by trauma.

The Art Therapy program is a form of counseling, which encourages self-expression using a full-range of art media, including painting, drawing, and sculpture. The American Art Therapy Association reports that the creative process and resulting artwork in art therapy helps to explore feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, and reduce anxiety.

This method is based on the current research outcomes from neurobiological studies on the treatment of trauma. Some researchers suggest that the senses of touch and sight connect directly to our brain’s fear center, which is why art therapy is ideally placed to work with traumatic memory. As traumatic memory is visually stored, connecting to it through art can be more immediate. It allows the individual suffering from trauma to choose what they create, and they release aspects of the trauma at their own pace, which stops them being overwhelmed. For children, this can be a particularly useful tool as they may have been told by adults ‘not to tell’ of negative experiences such as abuse or neglect.

The art allows for a non-verbal telling, which can make individuals feel safer and more likely to share their experience. Those who have experienced trauma may also lack the vocabulary to share how they feel, so the image created can allow them to bring their feelings to life. Particularly in cases of physical and sexual abuse, victims may be cut off from their bodily senses. As the use of art to express emotion accesses both visually stored memory and body memory, and not only enables individuals to create images, but the use of art materials such as clay and paint can help the individual to reconnect to physical sensation.

 

For more information, please contact our Coordinator of Counseling
(847) 731-7165, ext. 127
alatimer@asafeplaceforhelp.org

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