Posts Tagged ‘adolescents’

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

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Ohio Department of Mental Health Art Display : Youth Exposed to Domestic Violence

October 1, 2012

Earlier this year I was invited by the Ohio Department of Mental Health (ODMH) to display some of the art from youth that I work with in individual and group art therapy at the Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center (DVCAC).  ODMH showcases quarterly art displays from various programs and consumers from around the state in their Columbus office at the James A. Rhodes State Office Tower.

According to the ODMH website, ODMH “works to assure access to quality mental health services for Ohioans at all levels of need and life stages”.   One of ODMH’s core beliefs is a commitment to Trauma Informed Care, as well as the Resiliency of Youth.  Check out both of these links on the ODMH website to learn more and access their recommended resources.

The display from DVCAC runs October 1 through December 31 and features art expressions from children & adolescents who have been impacted by domestic violence and are involved in group or individual art therapy through DVCAC’s community-based outreach program. Art on display explores themes related to safety, resilience, emotional expression, domestic violence prevention, and managing trauma stress. Art expressions include collage, drawing, painting, handmade papermaking, paper house making, and mask making.  Click on the image below to download a flier [PDF] about the display.

The timing of this exhibit’s start is also aligned with October being recognized as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Look for related DVAM posts to be featured here on Creativity in Motion throughout this month, as well as resources about domestic violence collected on my trauma informed pinterest board.

If you are in the Columbus area over the next three months, take a moment to visit ODMH and this display.  My appreciation to the youth who participated through sharing their art, feelings, and a part of their life to empower their own voice, as well as bring awareness to others about their experience.

Experience Matters: Inspiration from the 2012 TLC Childhood Trauma Practitioner’s Assembly

July 16, 2012

Experience Matters Gluebook Spread

I just spent the last week in Clinton Township, Michigan attending the National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children’s 2012 Childhood Trauma Practitioner’s Assembly, Experience Matters.

The above image is a spread from one of my file folder bluebooks I am currently working on to visually document some of my travels and adventures in twentytwelve. This spread includes printed material and paper stuff I collected throughout the week at the conference, some items from the sessions I attended, the hotel I stayed at, a little distressed ink, Staz On ink, as well as using my  Smash Stamp and Smash Stick.  It was lots of fun to collect stuff, play with laying it out, and glue it all together!

I also created the image below as a creative way to take notes on a session I was attending about implementing a trauma group for adults.  The pre-cut figure shape fits really nicely in one of the file folder gluebook pockets!

In the workshop I presented, Finding a Safe Place: Creating Safety for Survivors of Domestic Violence through Art, attendees spent some of the session making a portable safe place in the form of an artist trading card with various collage materials. This special ATC serves as a symbolic safe place or image that can travel, become mobile, or easily be carried as a visual reminder and grounding tool for well being, comfort, and emotional safety. This ATC can also be displayed on a mini-easel, bulletin board, ones workspace, a nightstand, or become part of a journal (or for stashing in a file folder gluebook pocket!).

If you are interested to learning more about the topic I presented on, you can view the SlideShare here:

I’ve also pinned some content inspired by this year’s Assembly and workshops I attended on my Pinterest board about Trauma if you are interested in checking out any additional resources!

I am looking forward to returning back to Michigan next month to present for VCE’s Trauma Learning Series about the benefits of art therapy with traumatized and grieving children & adolescents…

My Creative Spaces, Places & More #wherewecreate

January 29, 2012

The Art Therapist Is In

This past week, I’ve started to upload preview photos for the art therapy photo documentary project Spaces & Places: Where We Create.  It has been very inspiring to see and learn about the creative spaces of the project’s endorsers who are offering a sneak peek into their work, spaces,  and favorite tools of the trade.  I am looking forward to learning even more from future submissions when Spaces & Places: Where We Create officially launches to the art therapy community on February 13.

I’ve been working on getting my photos together for the project, both my own personal art-making space and favorite materials, as well as the different spaces and such that I use as an art therapist.   Here are some initial pics that I have taken:

My Own Creative Space

These series of photos (above) show my creative space and office used for my own art-making, art therapy supervision, and small group art meet ups with friends & colleagues. The space is packed with my favorite art supplies (for collage, art journaling, altered art & bookmaking, painting, & drawing), inspiring photos, art, notes, toys, books, and more.

Some of my favorite materials to use in my own art

I have also started to take photos of the art therapy spaces,  favorite materials and approaches I use in my work as an Art Therapist with survivors of domestic violence in Cleveland, Ohio:

Art Therapy Spaces, Paper House Making, & Art Journaling

Part of my work at DVCAC includes providing community based art therapy to youth exposed to domestic violence through individual or support group services.  I also offer individual and group art therapy to youth and women who come to shelter to escape domestic violence.   As seen in previous posts here, I often use Paper House Making to explore and address safety planning, safe places, and to help contain overwhelming feelings associated with the worry,  fear, and terror that children and adolescents from violent homes experience.   Another photo I included is a material pic connected an art journaling group I recently started for women in shelter as a non-threatening space and means to manage traumatic stress and strengthen coping.

If you are interested in checking out the other photos that have been submitted so far (or future photos), check out the Art Therapy Alliance’s Set on Flickr for the project or follow photos via the Art Therapy Alliance’s Facebook page.

Group Strategies & Interventions with Traumatized Children and Adolescents | Online Course Now Available

January 14, 2012

When I started working in the social services field over 15 years ago, my first job was as a residential care youth worker.  The unit I worked on included 10 pre-adolescent boys struggling with severe emotional and behavioral needs as a result of abuse, early childhood abandonment, and neglect.  One of my first memories of beginning this new adventure was introducing purposeful and structured group time focused on general art making for relaxation, positive interaction, and self-expression. The programming was well received by the boys, my co-workers, and agency administrators, so much that they wanted more.  This setting is eventually where I was fortunate enough to start my art therapy career, have the opportunity to develop the agency’s first art therapy program, and start to better understand some of the benefits and challenges related to group work within a partial hospitalization program.

Fast forward about nine years later when I transitioned from the residential treatment setting to work in a shelter with youth impacted by domestic violence, as well as work within a bereavement program with grieving children and teens, where I started to learn more about and become better skilled at trauma informed group work.  A lot of this experience was obtained through great support and supervisors I was lucky enough to have in these settings, as well as the commitment I made to become certified as a Trauma Specialist and Consultant through The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children (TLC).

I am very grateful that during the last eight years I have been able to serve and focus most of my art therapy work on trauma informed groups for helping at-risk children and adolescents, whether this includes youth in crisis from exposure to domestic violence, adolescents in foster care, children and teens in shelter coping with homelessness, or grieving youth who have experienced traumatic death loss.

Inspired by this journey, I am excited to announce my new online course , Group Strategies & Interventions with Traumatized Children and Adolescents being offered through TLC.  My course focuses on the benefits and considerations important to facilitating group work with traumatized youth and introduces participants to themes, sensory based activities, therapeutic books, games, and creative interventions to implement in the group setting with traumatized youth.

Course content includes:

  • Benefits of Group Work with Traumatized Youth
  • Trauma Informed Group Structure
  • Facilitator’s Role
  • Group Themes
  • Developmental Considerations
  • Strategies & Interventions
  • Using Art in Trauma Group Work
  • Resources

To learn more and register, check out information about the course here.  6.0 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available.

TLC Offering Art & Play Therapists a Reduced Rate to Attend Childhood Trauma Assembly

June 7, 2011

The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children (TLC) announced this week that Art and Play Therapists can receive a reduced rate to attend this year’s Childhood Trauma Practitioner’s Assembly in July.  Jeffery Georgi (this year’s keynote) will be presenting on The Adolescent Brain, as well as other presenters offering best practices in trauma informed work with children and adolescents.  Check out the details below and visit this page to register with the discounted rate.

My workshop Group Strategies for Youth Exposed to Domestic Violence will focus on strategies and interventions important to facilitating group work with children and adolescents who have been impacted by domestic violence:

  • Learn practical tools and important themes to consider when working with youth exposed to domestic violence;
  • Be introduced to interventions that incorporate sensory-based intervention, therapeutic books, and art expression;
  • Gain a trauma informed understanding about how these strategies and interventions can promote safety, emotional expression, coping, validation, and normalizing when working with youth from violent homes;
  • Engage in activities and experientials to enhance your awareness and insight about the benefits of using hands-on and creative interventions in group work with traumatized youth.

I hope to see you in July!

Creating a Dialogue & Resource for Domestic Violence: Trauma Network Blogging

May 15, 2011

It’s official! I’ll be blogging as a core contributor for The Trauma Network,  a growing community of therapists coming together to learn new ways to advance their clinical practice, exchange resources, interventions, and find support related to trauma informed work.

My posts for the network will focus on considerations, strategies, best practices, and ideas for  therapists working with children, adolescents, families, and women impacted by domestic violence, including the benefits of using art and creative interventions with this population.

I hope my blogging will start a dialogue and create a trauma informed resource within this community connected to domestic violence and offer practical information useful for this area of work.  

To learn more about The Trauma Network and how to join (free!), please visit http://www.thetraumanetwork.com.

Childhood Trauma Practitioner’s Assembly: Trauma-Informed Resilience-Focused Practice

April 20, 2011

TLC Rubber Duck Safety Art Experience


Registration is now open for TLC’s Childhood Trauma Practitioner’s Assembly being held this summer July 12-15, 2011 in Clinton Township, Michigan.  I’ve attended this enriching and quality trauma conference for several years now and have learned so much from TLC about how to incorporate a more trauma informed approach in my art therapy work with traumatized and grieving youth.  Check out these past posts from the Assembly in 2010 and 2009 to read more about my experiences.

This year’s theme is Trauma-Informed Resilience-Focused Practices and will introduce participants to interventions, programs, tools, and best practices to best help traumatized children. In addition to the Assembly’s keynote featuring Jeffrey M. Georgiwho will be presenting on The Adolescent Brain the program schedule also includes daily workshops and courses for trauma certification.

I am honored to be included as a workshop presenter for this year’s program. On Thursday, July 14 I will be presenting a morning workshop  about group strategies and interventions with youth exposed to domestic violence.  This workshop will focus on strategies and interventions important to facilitating group work with children and adolescents who have been impacted by domestic violence.  Participants will learn practical tools and important themes to consider when working with youth exposed to domestic violence, including the introduction of activities that incorporate sensory-based intervention, therapeutic books, and art expression. Content presented will help participants gain a trauma informed understanding about how these strategies and interventions promote safety, emotional expression, coping, validation, and normalizing related to working with youth from violent homes. Participants will also engage in activities and experientials to enhance their awareness and insight about the benefits of using hands-on and creative interventions in group work with traumatized youth.

To learn more, visit the Assembly’s information pageTLC is also offering Art and Play Therapists a reduced registration fee.  Check out this page to register using the discounted rate.

Art Therapy Group Strategies & Interventions with Youth Exposed to Domestic Violence- Seton Hill University Trauma Conference

March 13, 2011

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!

Trauma, Recovery, & Growth: Art Therapy & Other Therapeutic Approaches

January 25, 2011
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Hosted by The Seton Hill University Graduate Art Therapy Program and Student Art Therapy Association
Greensburg, Pennsylvania

This one-day conference at Seton Hill University features a 3 hour keynote workshop presented by Linda Gantt on Using the Graphic Narrative for Trauma Processing, in addition to other trauma focused offerings addressing attachment and mind/body approaches through art, music, dance, and movement therapy.

I am looking forward to being part of this program through presenting an afternoon workshop about Art Therapy Group Strategies and Interventions with Youth Exposed to Domestic Violence. This presentation will focus on strategies and important themes to consider when facilitating group work with youth exposed to domestic violence. Content presented will help participants gain a trauma informed understanding related to safety, emotional expression, coping, validation, and normalizing through art expression in a group setting for this population.

6.5 continuing education credits are available for this full day conference. If you are interested in learning more and how to register, download the brochure and registration information here.

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