This week-end I attended Trauma, Recovery, & Growth: Art Therapy & Other Therapeutic Approaches hosted by Seton Hill University, the Graduate Art Therapy Program, and the program’s Student Art Therapy Association. I had the pleasure to present an afternoon workshop focusing on strategies and important themes to consider when facilitating group work with youth exposed to domestic violence.
Part of the workshop included a hands on art experiential where participants were introduced to making paper houses and encouraged to think about and create what makes a house a home & safe. Exploring issues around home in the context of safety planning, safe places, and helping to contain overwhelming feelings associated with worry and fear are important for children and adolescents from violent homes and have been impacted by the terror of domestic violence in their daily lives.
The PDF below includes information and a visual how-to about creating a three dimensional house from a 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper and some simple paperfolding steps. Art expression in trauma intervention can create a safe, welcoming, and non-threatening environment that can support traumatized youth in sharing their story through the creative process and artmaking. This paper house intervention and the process of paperfolding combines mindfulness elements with the structure of containment to help youth feel safe and explore experiences rooted in trauma and loss through art.
If you are interested in learning more about art therapy with youth impacted by domestic violence, check out some of my presentations here. Thanks to Seton Hill’s Graduate Art Therapy Program and Student Art Therapy Association for an awesome conference!