Archive for the 'trauma' Category

The Art of Relationships in Trauma Informed Work

May 18, 2018

This week Dr. Bruce Perry was here in Cleveland again (!) and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend his all day training focusing on the Six Core Strengths for Healthy Childhood Development. Inspiring, as always! Much of what he spoke about reinforced the immense power relationships have in trauma informed care. I compiled the notes I took from Dr. Perry’s lecture into some art with a few of (the many!) takeaways I wanted to remember about this topic:

Notes inspired by Dr. Bruce Perry, Cleveland 5/15/2018

  1. Relationships are more important than any adversity. Multiple adverse circumstances or experiences can be buffered by the healthy, positive relational connection in our lives.
  2. We live a relational driven life- our relationships with others impact us the most.
  3. The nature and number of healthy, positive relationships we have is key to our resilience, healing and recovery.
  4. Human beings are relational creatures and our behaviors, actions, feelings, and experiences are contagious to others.
  5. A trauma informed community and relational milieu is a healing community.
  6. Relational health = the degree of our internetwork of connectedness (Relational Poverty vs. Relational Wealth)
  7. Communication is all about rupture + repair, disconnection + connection — it is essential to explicitly acknowledge our differences, assumptions, implicit biases to build relationships.
  8. Therapeutic dosing and therapeutic spacing is important to provide tiny, repetitive doses of engagement, distancing, then re-engagement to support change.

Check out this Child Trauma Academy Resource of many of the slides and content presented during this training.

As an art therapist, I also reflected on how art-making, the creative process, and trauma intervention through art therapy supports relational considerations presented by Dr. Perry.  Art therapy “effectively supports personal and relational treatment goals” (The American Art Therapy Association) through:

  • Creating and/or re-establishing a safe space to explore feelings, responses, and experiences through active engagement in “bottom up” sensory-based intervention that supports lower parts of the brain where trauma resides;
  • Making art together in groups, families, and communities can foster healthy interactions, connectedness, and a sense of belonging that transcends language;
  • Art therapy creates opportunities to explore themes of deconstruction and reconstruction through the art making process and offer insight into internal and external communication, conflict, biases, and relational restoration;
  • The nature of art making with an art therapist offers repetitive, patterned, and parallel action while safely regulating and managing traumatic stress and triggers that could activate ones response system
  • An opportunity to build and strengthen resilience through meaningful art-based interactions and interventions that explore safety, change, vulnerability, and regulation.

Thank you Dr. Perry for returning to Cleveland and another great day of trauma informed learning!

 

Related Posts

Reflections on Art Therapy, Trauma, & Group Work

Top Ten Takeaways : PEP Symposium Dr. Bruce Perry in Cleveland (2013)

Top 10: Impact of Trauma and Neglect on the Developing Child with Dr. Bruce Perry (2012)

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Childhood Trauma and Art Therapy: Supporting Well-being and Healing

May 10, 2018

Today is SAMHSA’s Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day and this year’s focus is on “Partnering for Health and Hope Following Trauma” and ways that programs and services helping youth can become more trauma informed.  In honor of CMHAD, this post is dedicated to providing resources and re-publishing content that can bring awareness to the value of trauma informed care, as well as the benefits of art therapy in trauma intervention with children and adolescents.

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Lately the topic of trauma informed care has attracted mainstream attention. In March, 60 Minutes aired a segment with Oprah Winfrey interviewing Dr. Bruce Perry which helped raise important public awareness about childhood trauma and the value of trauma informed care.

Some key considerations to remember:

About Trauma Informed Care | creativity in motion

(C) 2017 Gretchen Miller

For many survivors of childhood trauma, the use of art therapy supports many of the key messages shared during the 60 minutes broadcast.  Here are some of art therapy’s unique benefits to support survivors of developmental trauma and adverse childhood experiences:

  • Art therapy provides a visual voice for a survivor’s experiences, emotions, and thoughts to be seen and heard through the creative process and therapeutic relationship with the art therapist. It is not uncommon for survivors of trauma to experience limitations or apprehension with expressing themselves through words alone.
  • Art making, as a sensory-based intervention can help safely express and manage or access content from lower parts of the brain where traumatic experiences and implicit memory live without words. This is why verbal expression can be insufficient, anxiety provoking, and inadequate for many survivors.
  • When a survivor engages in art therapy they are offered with the opportunity make choices and decisions through the creative process that helps create new ways of seeing the self, empower resiliency, and help envision their recovery path ahead.

Today’s CMHAD events include “a national event in Washington, DC. Kicking off the evening will be a pre-event that begins at 6:30 pm EST that will debut a video about art therapy and trauma. At 7 pm EST an interactive town hall discussion on strategies for making child-serving systems more trauma-informed will take place with those in attendance and online. You can watch the webcast live here and join the discussion on social media by using the hashtag #HeroesofHope.

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Resources

Art Therapy in Action: Trauma (American Art Therapy Association Video)- How art therapy can help individuals or families who have experienced trauma express what they’ve been through safely, and tell their stories without needing to talk.

The Value of Art Expression in Trauma-Informed Work – The following American Art Therapy Association and National Institute for Trauma and Loss Institute resource summarizes a few of the important themes and considerations connected to trauma-informed work and how the process of art-making can help to achieve grounding, reflection and growth.

Bruce Perry’s Impact: Considerations for Art Therapy & Children from Violent Homes – Brief presentation about how Dr. Bruce Perry’s work has influenced an art therapist’s art therapy & trauma work with children from violent homes. Presented as part of a panel at the 2008 American Art Therapy Association conference in Cleveland, Ohio.

How Art Therapy Can Help Children Facing Mental Health Challenges (Huffington Post)

SAMHSA’s Resources for Child Trauma Informed Care

National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services- Trauma & Children

Trauma Informed Perspectives on Human Trafficking Awareness

February 3, 2018

Last month I attended the annual NEO National Human Trafficking Day Conference hosted by The Renee Jones Empowerment Center. This yearly offering always is a valuable offering for mental health professionals, educators, advocates, law enforcement, and healthcare workers to gain important information and community resources about the realities of human trafficking in NE Ohio, prevention, programs, and services.

This year’s conference focused on many trauma informed topics and here are a few of the resources I took away from parts of the day:

  • Law Clinic– Case Western Reserve University law student Mercedes Gurney presented about the topic of her research, re-victimization of survivors and how criminalization of prostitution fails victims. Victims are coerced by perpetrators into prostitution and other illegal acts that they are often arrested for and charged with.  You can learn more about the criminalization of human trafficking and issues victims face from this article and the Trafficking Victims Advocacy Project. When recovering survivors attempt to re-enter back into the community and start a new life, this legal trail of offensives and history of convictions can significantly and negatively impact employment, housing, and other aspects of recovery. This article, What Happens When a Human Trafficking Victim is “Rescued” also speaks to how re-traumatization can take place after someone leaves their trafficker and the lack of trauma informed care available to meet their needs. Ohio’s Safe Harbor Law allows victims of human trafficking to receive help for their criminal past and obtain legal services that would expunge and remove any previous convictions. This process creates a clean slate for survivors without their past impacting their ability to get a job, schooling, housing, or have a negative influence on future goals and opportunities. A portion of Mercedes’ presentation however, introduced the realities of expungement in the digital age and how physical criminal records can be erased and sealed, but there is no affirmative legal duty to update electronic information that becomes available through the Internet on websites, databases, digital newspapers, social media, media forums, or search engines. This means that someone’s expunged past criminal history (or even arrests where charges were dropped or unsubstantiated reports) can continue to live online for anyone who does a Google search for the individual’s name, such as an employer, landlord, etc.  As we know, removing or regulating content published on the Internet is very difficult.

To learn more about digital expungement and rehabilitation, watch this video below:

Resources available in Ohio to help survivors with expungement and legal services:

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  • Trauma Informed Care– A presentation by SANE Nurse and Coordinator Kathleen Hackett from University Hospital’s Rainbow Babies & Children offered attendees an overview of trauma informed care and what this means in regards to treatment. She highlighted the importance of viewing trauma as an experience (what happened to you? vs what is wrong with you?) that has an impact on the survivor’s entire well-being and how we can be trauma informed in our work through realizing, responding, recognizing, and resisting:

Realize: Awareness to trauma reactions as normal reactions to abnormal situations and the effects of these responses emotionally, physically, cognitively, and behaviorally.

Respond: Implementing a survivor approach that respects not only trauma as an experience, but that this experience is unique to each person, including any cultural, historical, or gender related ways of coping.  Trauma informed responding also is aware the immense importance of safety, safety planning, and establishing safety as a core foundation to treatment. Trauma informed care also includes validating and empowering survivors towards recovery and healing.

Recognize: Trauma informed work understands and sees the signs and symptoms of trauma. In relationship to human trafficking, this also includes the external and internal factors that put individuals at risk and vulnerable to trafficking.

Resist: Trauma informed care resists systems, approaches, services, and practices that put survivors at risk for re-traumatization.

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Released with permission

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The entire conference was a full day of knowledge…I continue to learn more about the complexities of human trafficking, services and programs available, and effective, trauma informed ways victims and survivors can receive help, hope, and healing.  The next program offering I am looking forward to attending is the 2nd Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Youth Prevention Summit on March 23 at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. State Representative Teresa Fedor (District 45-Toledo) is again bringing students together from around Ohio to be a part of discussions about self-esteem and health, social media, legislation and highlight the role of students and young people in the fight to end all forms of trafficking. I will be helping offer an art experience for youth attendees to use creative expression as a form of advocacy and awareness against trafficking.  Looking forward to another day of learning and awareness….

Related Posts:

Human Trafficking in Art: Expressions of Truth, Courage, Resilience, & Recovery

Reflections on Art Therapy, Trauma, & Group Work

2017 Ohio Youth Summit: A Day of Awareness, Prevention, and Advocacy

Trauma Informed Self-Care Tips for the Holidays

December 1, 2017

The holiday season is upon us: at home, in the workplace, in our communities, classrooms, and far and wide in the media, online, and in neighborhood stores.

This time of year can inspire festive gatherings and activities of joy, togetherness, and heartfelt memories with family and friends. For some, though, the holidays can be a challenging time of stress, adversity, and a difficult trigger of strong emotions, pressures, or traumatic experiences. This topic is the focus of my new guest post for The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children’s (TLC) blog, helping to provide a trauma informed considerations for the holidays and additional resources to learn more.  Read more here.

Art Therapy In Action Interview Series

November 4, 2017

The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) has started to release a series of videos, Art Therapy in Action, that features credentialed art therapists talking about their work with a variety of populations, settings, and topics.  This series of interviews describe “how the unique and integrative properties of art therapy can enrich lives, support personal and relational treatment goals, address community concerns, and advance societal and ecological change”.  If you are interested in learning more about how art therapists work, these videos offer a great look into the different approaches, applications, and ways art therapy can be facilitated.

Some of the videos already released include interviews with art therapists who work with:

  • Adolescents
  • Children in Hospital Settings
  • Individuals in the LGBTQIA Community
  • Veterans and Military Service Members
  • Older Adults and Memory Care
  • Eating Disorders
  • Prisons and Correctional Settings
  • Research
  • Cross Cultural Projects and Communities

I am honored that I was also able to contribute to this series, participating in an interview about art therapy and trauma with art therapy colleagues Cheryl Doby-Copeland and Juliet King:

Future topics, interviews, and art therapists will continue to be added to this series, so stay tuned for more on AATA’s YouTube Channel or on the AATA website.

Creative Arts Therapies Week 2017

March 12, 2017

Creative Arts Therapies Week begins today!  This week (March 12-18) is an an opportunity to celebrate and recognize the work of creative arts therapists and the membership organizations of the National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Associations (NCCATA), which includes:

  • Art therapists
  • Music therapists
  • Drama therapists
  • Poetry therapists
  • Dance/Movement therapists
  • Psychodrama

In honor of this special week I wanted to share a couple of resources related to my own work as an art therapist:

  • I recently updated this SlideShare presentation that I often use when speaking to high school and college students about art therapy and some of education and training required to be an art therapist:

 

To learn more about the work of creative arts therapists, additional resources, and how to locate a qualified professional in your area, please visit these NCCATA membership associations:

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2017 Ohio Youth Summit: A Day of Awareness, Prevention, and Advocacy

February 5, 2017

Youth Summit: Awareness, Prevention, and Advocacy | creativity in motion

On Friday, February 3rd I was able to participate in the 1st Annual Ohio Human Trafficking Youth Prevention Summit held in Columbus at the Ohio Statehouse. The event was hosted by Representative Theresa Fedor as an additional event to the 8th Annual Ohio Human Trafficking Awareness Day held in the Capitol the day before.  Over 200 high school and college students from all over Ohio (Toledo, Columbus, Cleveland, Akron, Dayton, Cincinnati, and surrounding areas) came together to become more aware of and advocate for human trafficking prevention.

The agenda for the day was full of inspiring speakers and creative activities aimed at providing education and a message of action to youth about how to get involved in this important issue and learn how to protect themselves and their peers from being at-risk. At the Summit Representative Fedor also introduced a new bill that would help protect 16 and 17 year old youth from human trafficking with this announcement.

Survivors and advocates gave voice to and shared their experiences with students through poetry, music, performance, and panel discussions. This included Poet Quynterra Eskridge, Rapper Archie Green, and national speaker, author, and educator Dr. Elaine Richardson, who performed her one woman show PHD to PhD: How Education Saved My Life.  The day’s events also included a panel moderated by Renee Jones of statewide professionals representing the fields of public health, law enforcement, policy, and juvenile justice.  It was an honor to be included with this very knowledgeable line up to share my role at the Renee Jones Empowerment Center offering art therapy for survivors and at risk teens as part of Ursuline ArtSpace Outreach.

The day concluded with a break out session for students with the University of Dayton and for educators with Abolition Ohio. A valuable resource that was shared for educators and other professionals working with youth to implement prevention programming was this guide published by the Ohio Attorney General.

Youth Summit: Awareness, Prevention, and Adocacy | creativity in motion

A full day of important information, performances, and learning

Also available throughout the Summit was art making that invited students to creatively contribute a pledge hand in response to standing up to human trafficking and bringing awareness- many positive and encouraging messages were created by youth in attendance as part of this project in the Ohio Statehouse Atrium.

Youth Summit: Awareness, Prevention, and Advocacy

Students were invited to contribute to group art pieces.

Thank you to Representative Fedor for hosting this event for the wellbeing of Ohio’s youth and the Renee Jones Empowerment Center in helping with organizing the event’s offerings.  It was an inspiring day full of information, strategies, help, and hope.

For additional resources, please visit these regional and national sites:

Related Posts

Awareness, Prevention, & Recovery Made Visible: 2015 NE Ohio Human Trafficking Symposium, Project Red Cord, & Teen Summit

Human Trafficking in Art: Expressions of Truth, Courage, Resilience, & Recovery

Creating Hope: NE Ohio Human Trafficking Symposium

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Creativity & The Arts in Healing

January 15, 2017

The UCLArts & Healing Conference in partnership with the Expressive Therapies Summit presents Creativity & The Arts in Healing to be offered this spring March 30 through April 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport. This 4 day conference is an opportunity to learn arts-based tools for facilitating communication, building connection, promoting positive emotions, fostering engagement, reducing stress, and managing the impact of trauma.  Offerings include 125+ workshops delivered by leading national experts in art, dance, drama, drumming, music, and writing integrated with mental health practices. Select any one or combination of days. Over 30 continuing education credits are available.

Creativity & Arts in Healing | creativty in motion

Specialty tracks include:

  • Mindfulness & Wellbeing
  • Children & Adolescents
  • Community Building & Social Justice
  • Expressive Writing & Journaling
  • Play Therapy
  • Special Populations

Creative expression invites self-reflection and dialogue that can lead to meaningful self-discovery, connection with others, and personal empowerment. Studies have shown that the arts—particularly when integrated with mental health practices—can yield social, emotional, physical and cognitive benefits. The nonverbal aspect of the arts transcends traditional barriers of age, ability, and culture. Shared creative experiences build empathy and community, which expand possibilities for action and transformation.

Creativity & Arts in Healing | creativty in motion

I am excited to be offering one of my favorite trauma informed and strength based workshops at this event: Tokens of Esteem and Affirmation, a mixed media art making session dedicated to making Artist Challenge Coins.  In the military, a Challenge Coin is a medallion symbolizing achievement or esteem. They are also given out to enhance morale and membership for members of the community. In the spirit of Challenge Coins, participants will learn how to make and use Artist Challenge Coins as tokens of affirmation, strength, and recovery.

Learning objectives:

  • Participants will describe 3 examples connected to the history and significance of Challenge Coins used to symbolize achievement, community building, and instill a sense of belonging;
  • Participants will state 3 ways Artist Challenge Coins (ACCs) can be adapted to use with a variety of populations and therapeutic settings.
  • Participants will describe a minimum of 1 value of using Challenge Coins with varied clinical populations.

Not only will we be making a series of our own coins, but participants will also  engage in a community art exchange with other workshop attendees.  I would love to have you join us- this half day workshop is scheduled for Sunday, April 2, 10 am-1pm.

To register and learn more about the Summit, its awesome line up of offerings and teaching faculty, check out www.expressivetherapiessummit.la. Early bird discounts are available through February 17!   See you in LA!

 

Creativity & The Arts in Healing | creativity in motion

Creativity & The Arts in Healing | creativity in motion

 

Creativity & The Arts in Healing | creativity in motion

 

 

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Art Therapy: Finding Help, Finding Hope

May 5, 2016

Art Therapy: Finding Help, Finding Hope | creativity in motion

May launches Mental Health Awareness Month, and today, May 5 recognizes National Children’s Mental Health Awareness (CMHAD) sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) is one of the organizations supporting tonight’s national event in Washington, DC.

In honor of spreading awareness about this day, this week I put up a display of artwork from some of the teens I’ve had in my art therapy groups this year.  Preparing this display and reflecting on this year’s CMHAD theme of “Finding Help, Finding Hope” inspired me to think about it’s meaning and connection to the work that happens in art therapy. So much about the act of making art is about hope. Despite the challenges and experiences the clients I work with are facing, the creative expression that takes place when they are in art therapy provides a life affirming moment in the here and now to share ones self, emotions, and experiences. Their art helps to make sense of, create meaning, or to re-frame what is often so very hard to do with just words alone. For many of the youth I work with, the art they create often helps them discover or imagine a new beginning, a fresh start, a sense of comfort or safety that they long for.  Art making in art therapy offers a place of acceptance, refuge, and support. And as art therapist Bruce Moon reminds us in his book Art-Based Group Therapy: “making art in the presence of others is an expression of hope”. It is a privilege to be able to witness the youth I work with find help and hope through the power of art therapy.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of art therapy in children’s mental health, check out this post  The Important Role of Art Therapy in Supporting Children’s Mental Health that I did for the American Art Therapy Association last year.

SAMHSA also has free publications you can order and electronic downloads on a variety of mental health, recovery, and trauma related topics for all ages available here.

 

Make Paper, Make Peace

March 22, 2016

Earlier this month Drew Matott and I taught another Peace Paper papermaking, trauma intervention and social action course- this one for Counseling and Art Therapy graduate students at Ursuline College.  It was fun to teach together again over 2 days and introduce the 26 students we had to the therapeutic benefits of papermaking.

Make Paper, Make Peace | creativity in motionMake Paper, Make Peace | creativity in motion

Students were introduced to the work and travels of Peace Paper, its history and mission to collaborate with the art therapy community, and a variety of examples about how papermaking can be used with many different populations- especially in relationship to trauma, loss, & recovery, as well as bring awareness to issues related to mental health, sexual assault, and bullying.

Make Paper, Make Peace | creativity in motion

Students made lots of paper over the course of the workshop– probably at least 150 sheets (!) and experimented with pulp printing, double couching, and book binding.  Paper was first made using Peace Paper’s Hollander Beater from meaningful articles of clothing or a piece of fabric that students brought and wanted to transform into paper… as a new beginning or as an act of letting go of something.  Students also were introduced to DIY papermaking without the use of a Hollander, to explore adaptable options in the art therapy setting.

Make Paper, Make Peace | creativity in motion

What a great couple of days making paper with this group!

If you’re interested in Peace Paper’s trainings and workshops throughout the rest of 2016, check out the tour schedule here.  News about Peace Paper and resources for papermaking can be found here.

Make paper, make peace!

Related Posts

When It’s Hot…Make Some Paper!

Nepalese Style Peace Paper On the Go

Peacemaking & DIY Papermaking

 

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