Posts Tagged ‘domestic violence’

Children’s Story Books for Trauma Informed Work & Art Making

October 6, 2014

As part of my ongoing re-organizing and inventorying of my work & creative space, I spent some time going through my collection of children’s books that I commonly use in group work (as well as individual sessions) with school aged youth (ages 6-12) and pre-school aged children. Many of these books I have had for years, purchased at trauma conferences, and have found really helpful to introduce a theme or topic that we will be working on before beginning the art intervention.

Children's Story Books for Trauma Informed Work & Art Making | creativity in motion

Shelfie: Children’s Story Books for Trauma Informed Work

Here are some of my favorites and how I like to use them with art making in the groups I’ve done over the years:

Domestic Violence:

  • Hands Are Not For Hitting– I like to use this book with younger kiddos, between 4-6 years old to help discuss helpful and & kind ways we can use our hands instead of choosing to be hurtful.  Often the story is followed by the children in the group tracing their own hands, decorating them with crayons or markers to include with the many ways we’ve discussed about how their hands can be used in positive, respectful, and non-violent ways.
  • A Place for Starr: A Story of Hope for Children Experiencing Family Violence– This book tells a young girl’s story about her mother, brother, and her leaving their home of domestic violence to the safety of a shelter.  The book is now out of print and any available finds are quite expensive to purchase, but if you come across an affordable copy somewhere, I recommend it highly!  I am super thankful to have a copy for my collection- I have found this book helpful for opening up discussions and art-making around the experience of coming to a shelter.

Emotions:

  • Is It Right to Fight? – The content in this book looks at aggression & anger from a variety of perspectives such as bullying, fighting between adults, war and prompts the group/child with questions to explore decisions, situations, and ways we can manage our anger or conflicts without fighting & violence.
  • When I’m Feeling…. series – This series features 8 different books about the feelings scared, sad, jealous, happy, loved, kind, lonely, & angry in very simple & short illustrated stories, which is great to use with young children to explore emotional themes. When we’re going to work on something like Worry Dolls, the When I’m Feeling Scared book is a helpful introduction to learn more about or normalize the feeling.
  • My Many Colored Days–  This book is another favorite of mine: I love the images and descriptions of emotions associated with the different colors– My favorite is the green, calm & cool fish! Lots and lots of possibilities for art-making to promote emotional expression inspired by this classic Dr. Seuss book!  Check out this PDF resource supporting social emotional development using a variety of arts based and hands on activities with this book.

Strength-Based:

  • Just Because I Am: A Child’s Book of Affirmations: I mostly use this book with young children as a way to instill not only how all feelings are OK, but that our thoughts, bodies, and who we are, is important to respect as well. This book goes really well with drawing images or pictures around the theme of “who am I?” or “this is me!”
  • Life Doesn’t Frighten Me– Maya Angelou’s amazing poem meets the awesome art illustrations of Jean-Michel Basquiat in this very inspiring book that tells the story of fearlessness and resiliency.  The narrative from these pages sets a great foundation to do some art-making about our strengths and supports.
  • Courage– This children’s book I’ve used not only in my professional work to introduce what courage is to the youth I work with, but it has also inspired my own creative work!  It’s a great story for adults to be reminded about too and both children & grown ups alike can benefit from creating Couarge Coins!
  • When I Grow Up– I initially bought this book at a local toy store in Chicago many years ago because I really liked the creative illustrations with black and white photographs of children’s faces, but then fell in love with it’s entire concept surrounding the cliche question: What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?  Instead of focusing on the typical answer of an occupation or vocation, this book suggests another thoughtful perspective (and fun pictures) such as growing up to be brave, adventurous, generous, imaginative, curious, optimistic, patient, & more.  It’s a great book to explore how we feel about ourselves (and future selves), as well as how we want to treat others.

Trauma & Loss:

Both of these books below are really valuable to help introduce what trauma is, trauma reactions, and learning how to manage traumatic stress through an animal character based story.  After reading and having a discussion about the book, I often invite kids to create art expressions about what they think happened in the story.

Peacemaking:

I use this batch of books & stories to inspire kids about how to become a peacemaker and how make choices to live non-violently in their home, school, and community:

  • What Does Peace Feel Like?– This is my favorite book in this section…. The content prompts children to use their imagination and explore their senses about what peace looks, feels, smells, tastes, and sounds like.  It’s fun to have kids draw one of the senses symbolizing peace to him or her!  Just like the book, I’ve seen that often peace often tastes a lot like ice cream! 🙂
  • The Peace Book– A great introductory book to start exploring simple, but meaningful ways that we can bring peace to others & the world around us!  I like to prompt group members to think (and create about) what peace means to them as an individual, in our group, to others they know (at home, school, their neighborhood), and what peace means globally in the form of a flag,, shield, or mandala.

Relaxation & Self-Regulation:

These two books share lots of different ways for kids to calm their minds and bodies in the face of stress.  Often before it’s time to make art, I like to take time to pause for a little bit of quiet time in the group, where we focus on breathing, movement, and more:

I hope this list and ideas were helpful! A lot of books listed above are linked to one of my favorite resources, The Self Esteem Shop, who supports trauma informed work through carrying many of these children’s books and more.  I hope you will check some of them out, or if you use them already (or others!) share your experiences below!

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Related Resources:

My Trauma Informed Pinterest Board

Peacemaking & DIY Papermaking

Group Strategies & Interventions with Traumatized Children and Adolescents

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Journey to Resilience: Takeaways & Creative Offerings

June 5, 2014
Journey to Resilence: Takeaways & Creative Offerings | creativity in motion

3×5 365 day 154 takeaways : journey to resilience

This week was our annual staff retreat and this year the day was completely dedicated to the impact of trauma exposure, self-care strategies, and resiliency.  The retreat’s main speaker was Cynthia Vrabel, MD, who is the Medical Director of FrontLine Service here in Cleveland. Dr. Vrabel’s work includes an interest in research and program development to address the issue of secondary traumatic stress in clinicians and first responders.

I found the content presented throughout the day really spoke to the realities, challenges, & struggles of trauma work and exposure related to compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and burnout, as well as provided nurturing and encouraging staff self-care strategies and takeaways to implement and build upon as individuals, within programming, and agency wide. It was re-energizing to spend the day receiving Dr. Vrabel’s teachings and reminders rooted in the work of Dr. Bruce Perry, Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, Brene Brown, and many others who offer support & inspiration related to trauma focused work.

There were countless takeaways from the day, but my top 3 were these:

  • Create a Transition Zone: A space, ritual or practice that supports us to create a healthier boundary and balance between our personal life and work. In the same spirit, this idea reminded me to re-visit the article, 10 Easy Steps to Creating a Peaceful Home Retreat published by the Joyful Heart Foundation‘s Reunion Magazine (Issue 2).  This resource provides many sensory based suggestions that can help cultivate routines and areas within the space we live to shift into a place of calmness, peace, and relaxation.  Using symbolic objects, scents, music, journaling, creative expression, & more are all offered as options to integrate this into self care practice.
  • Covenant Based Caregiving: A covenant can be defined as “a written agreement or promise…especially for the performance of some action.” What are your covenants, values, or intentions related to bringing your “best self” to your life, work and service….to not only others, but to yourself as well? We were given a worksheet created by Dr. Vrabel to explore discovering our own covenants that I thought could easily be explored in visual form as well (I thought about making a collage or book!).  What are your own values and promises to yourself that you can make about living, working, loving, being, becoming, believing, promoting, striving, and seeking that support covenant caregiving vs. “on demand” caregiving?
  • Compassion Satisfaction: Compassion satisfaction is the enjoyment created from being able to help other people. It is the opposite of Compassion Fatigue (the emotional and physical exhaustion of caring for others) or Vicarious Trauma (becoming traumatized ourselves as a result of being exposed to stories and images of suffering).  I am always interested in learning more about concepts connected to Post Traumatic Growth and how very stressful or traumatic situations can transform into positive and life affirming experiences. Compassion Satisfaction supports this experience for the helper or caregiver, which I love!  Check out this resource: Transforming Compassion Fatigue into Compassion Satisfaction – 12 Top Self Care Tips for more ideas and suggestions.

In addition to the cognitive learning throughout the day, there was also dedicated time to mind/body & sensory based activities to support and explore self-care themes.  Part of the morning included engaging in stretching, movement, & deep breathing and during some of the afternoon I was able to introduce and lead everyone in an art experience focused on art journaling as a tool for nurturing emotional resilience.

Journey to Resilience: Takeways & Creative Offerings | creativity in motion

Nurturing Emotional Resilience through Art Journaling

 Everyone created paper bag art journals (check out this past post on how to make one!) as a tangible reminder of our supports, strengths, positive affirmations, and comfort.  Each person also received an Artist Trading Card as an invitation to create an anchoring image that reflected a sense of peace and relaxation inspiration.  A variety of creative goodness was offered for materials such as acrylic paint, pastels, Sharpies, gel pens, printed paper of various colors and bright designs, tissue paper, as well as journaling cards & Smash pad paper.  I also invited people to bring their own favorite quotes, sayings, images and inspiration related to resiliency, affirmation, and self-care.

Journey to Resilience: Takeways & Creative Offerings | creativity in motion

Journey to Resilience: Takeways & Creative Offerings | creativity in motion

Journey to Resilience: Takeways & Creative Offerings | creativity in motion

It was great to see the room buzz with book making and art journaling energy infused with both written and visual positive messages.  The group was encouraged to continue working on their handmade journal and ATC post retreat and to also incorporate its presence into a work space where it could be of help or support in times of need or support.

Journey to Resilience: Takeways & Creative Offerings | creativity in motion

In relationship to this post’s topic, next month at the National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children’s Childhood Trauma Practitioner’s Assembly, I’ll be presenting another workshop about Art Journaling’s Visual Voice in Trauma Intervention.  This hands-on workshop will explore the use of art journaling as a safe, contained space for processing emotional expression, promoting self-care, and sharing one’s personal narrative and intentions. Content will include themes and the benefits of art journaling as a visual voice and means of trauma intervention with youth and women survivors of trauma. Participants will also engage in creating their own mini art journal with mixed media to identify and support their own professional self-care practices and intentions related to working with trauma & loss issues.  Registration for this year’s Assembly is still open if you’re interested in attending!

It was so wonderful to have a day to come together to honor self-care and the impact trauma work can have on our wellbeing, as well as learn and practice ways to manage, balance, and cultivate what supports our best self – at work, home, and in our relationships. Very grateful!

Related Resources:

The Art of Emotional Resilience

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

Trauma Stewardship, Gratitude, and Wordle Making

I CAN WE CAN Day of Action through Art: Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2013

October 4, 2013

During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, use the power of the arts and A Window Between World’s I Can We Can movement as a form of advocacy and empowerment to help end abuse & interpersonal trauma:

I CAN WE CAN Day of Action | A Window Between Worlds

“24 people every minute experience intimate partner violence in the United States. And this figure may be even higher because most people don’t report it. Break the silence surrounding this silent epidemic. Be part of our I CAN WE CAN Day of Action on October 16 during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The Day of Action is a time for all of us to show our solidarity by sparking dialogue and raising visibility either online or in the streets. Join with the I CAN WE CAN community and use art to move our communities towards change.” (AWBW website)

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Related Posts:

Advocacy & Empowerment through Art: Social Action and Trauma Informed Care

Survivor’s Hand: Finding Safety through Art: #ICANWECAN

Getting the Picture [VIDEOS]: Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2012

Finding a Safe Place: Creating Safety for Domestic Violence Survivors through Art

Art Therapy Happenings and Goings On: twentythirteen fall on the go

August 19, 2013

I’ve been gearing up for art therapy fall happenings and goings on that I’m looking forward to this year… Lots of good stuff on the calendar! Check it out:

This week begins the first day of Art Therapy Studio I that I’ll be teaching for Ursuline College’s Art Therapy  and Counseling Program.  I’m very excited to meet the students and work together throughout the fall semester exploring concepts about the creative process, developing their unique self-expression, and symbolic language through art.  This course engages students in tons of personal art making in and outside of class, as well as time to reflect about their identity as an artist, which I believe is so essential in the on-going work of an art therapist. Students will be creating a portfolio of work, exploring artist mentors, and telling their own path as an artist through digital storytelling to help facilitate this discovery.

Next month, I’ll be attending Ohio’s Buckeye Art Therapy Association’s Annual Symposium (September 28 & 29) featuring  Dr. Harriet Wadeson as the Keynote Speaker. Dr. Wadeson “will focus on the use of creative self-expression in facing severe illness as an experienced art therapist and from the subjective vantage point of her own cancer diagnosis and treatment as highlighted in her recent book, Journaling Cancer in Words and Images: Caught in the Clutch of the Crab.” On-line registration is still open until August 26 to attend this 2 day event of art therapy offerings!

toplogoIn October I’ll be visiting Mount Mary University in Milwaukee again to teach a week-end class about Art Therapy Interventions and Strategies with Survivors of Domestic Violence. Content related to group work & appropriate themes, using art to help re-establish safety, build resiliency, manage traumatic stress, as well as art’s role to empower a visual voice in trauma intervention will be explored. I’m grateful to have this opportunity to spend time with Mount Mary’s art therapy graduate students and to share my experiences over this 3 day offering.

Also in October, I’ll be attending the Illinois Art Therapy Association Conference (October 26), Collective Rekindling: Healing Narratives in Art Therapy being held at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  The Keynote Speaker for this conference is Dr. Lani Gerity, which is so perfect for the conference theme!  As part of the conference, I’ll be presenting a workshop on Art Journaling’s Visual Voice in Trauma Intervention. This hands-on workshop will explore the use of art journaling as a safe, contained space for processing emotional expression, promoting self care, and sharing ones personal narrative and intentions. Content will include themes and the benefits of art journaling as a visual voice and means of trauma intervention with youth and women survivors of trauma.  Participants will engage in creating their own mini art journal with mixed media to identify and support their own professional self-care practices and intentions related to working with trauma & loss issues.

I’ll also be presenting my art journaling and trauma intervention workshop at the 4th Annual Expressive Therapies Summit while in New York City this November. Check out my offering on November 10 and others related to Story, Journaling, and Poetry in Therapy available at this year’s Summit here. This year’s Summit includes over 175 faculty presenting on 7 Creative Arts over 4 days throughout NYC!

I hope our paths will cross to meet up or say hello at one of these offerings this fall!

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Related posts:

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

Self Care through Creative Practice and Intention

On the Go: Change, Transformation, & Action through Art

Inspiration from the 2013 TLC Childhood Trauma Practitioner’s Assembly

July 13, 2013

2013 National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children Childhood Practitioner's Assembly

I just returned back from the National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children’s annual Childhood Trauma Practitioner’s Assembly in Clinton Township, Michigan.  I attended three days of workshops, as well as presented on the last day.  My blogging practice over the last few years has been to post reflections, inspiration, and resources I learned and received from attending the Assembly as a way to debrief from the week, process the information, and share it with others:

Developing a Trauma Informed Community | 2013 TLC Assembly

Developing a Trauma Informed Community with Jean West

I kicked off the Assembly with seasoned TLC workshop presenter Jean West who presented great content and considerations about developing a trauma informed community.  What I found most valuable about this workshop was learning more about the parts of community collaboration in relationship to trauma work and informed care. From Jean’s lecture and handout, I was inspired to do some mindmapping to highlight important areas such as, but not limited to:

  1. Identifying what individuals, groups, organizations, etc. you need to get involved
  2. How to get them engaged to support trauma informed care
  3. Trauma Champions from your community that can be mobilized to advocate & educate
  4. Become a Trauma Champion: What can you do as an individual to contribute!

Check out this great Prezi I discovered by Sara Mink about How to Become a Trauma Champion when working with survivors of domestic violence:

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I also attended Michele Thompson’s workshop, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to learn more about this approach and its tools related to mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy. In this workshop I took away a lot of resources to explore further and became very interested in the concept of Valued Living, developed by Kelly Wilson and Russ Harris:

Valued living is having a notion about what we want out of life and then making a commitment to ourselves to take action in service of those values. It is the most vital way in which we would choose to live. If we are to truly live a valued life, we will be forever moving in the direction of our values. Values are part of our journey, not a simple destination. Values are not specific goals with an end point, like a bike race or a triathlon. Values are a continuous way of living. (Center for Value Living)

An article co-written by Wilson about Valued Living and ACT can also be downloaded here.

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Another TLC presenter I enjoy seeing every year is Kelly Warner and learning more about her trauma work with youth, especially in relationship to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.  Kelly’s workshop this year focused on interventions and ideas related to group work with adolescents. This included drawing, music, & journaling to explore topics about safety, trust, processing feelings & thoughts about their trauma experience, and strengthening self-awareness.

Trauma Focused Group Therapy with Youth Trauma Survivors | 2013 TLC Assembly

Trauma Focused Group Therapy with Youth Trauma Survivors with Kelly Warner

One of the small group exercises we did included a silent round robin activity with Play Doh where we each took turns creating & adding a symbol or making an addition to a group piece related to the theme of safety.

A helpful resource that I like to use in my group work with adolescents is this TLC program by Kelly: Teen Empowerment-A Structured Sensory Intervention Program for Teens Exposed to Domestic Violence.

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2013 TLC Assembly Workshops w/ Cherie Spehar

2013 TLC Assembly Workshops with Cherie Spehar

Here’s some info about two awesome workshops facilitated by TLC Trauma Consultant Cherie Spehar:

Path to the Pen: Journaling through Soul Pain to Peace– I loved this workshop!  Lots and lots of information about the benefits of writing with trauma informed care, including these resources:

Secondary Victimization: Hurt by Others, Hurt by Self– Cherie’s secondary wounding workshop also included writing ideas to help trauma survivors cope with feelings of blame, minimization, other’s expectations about their experience, and the hurt and devaluing that surfaces from secondary wounding.

  • Dialogue Letters: Between now self and then self, between trauma and self
  • Forgiveness Letters: Forgiving a part, a person, or past choices & behaviors
  • Wish Poems: Letting go of expectations, what could/should have been

Another good idea from Cherie to incorporate into writing & secondary wounding was the work of Virginia Satir (who I love!) and her 5 Freedoms of Becoming Fully Human.  Identifying and writing about “My Personal Freedoms”as a prompt can to help survivor’s reclaim a sense of balance.  Great idea!

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Attending Laura Serazin’s workshop about her work with the Chardon Schools here in NE Ohio was really helpful to learn more about how making art, drumming, and other creative group interventions helped families and this community cope after the high school’s 2012 school shooting.

Fostering Wellness: Responding to the Aftermath of the Chardon School Shooting  | 2013 TLC Assembly

Fostering Wellness: Responding to the Aftermath of the Chardon School Shooting with Laura Serazin

In small groups we created Safety Islands (from TLC’s Helping Children Feel Safe Program) which was one of the activities families and survivors engaged in during a workshop they attended at her agency.

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Peace Begins with Me: Creating Peacemakers through Creativity | 2013 TLC Assembly

Peace Begins with Me: Creating Peacemakers through Creativity

And…on the last day of the Assembly, I was excited and honored to facilitate a morning workshop about my work with youth around the topic of peacemaking through creativity, as well as highlighting art’s role in peacemaking, conflict resolution, and social transformation.

Creating Peacmakers through Creativity | 2013 TLC Assembly

A really great group of workshop attendees!

It was nice to see some familiar faces, meet new ones, and connect with more like minded trauma specialists during this workshop!

What Does Peace Feel, Taste, Sound, Look, Smell Like.....? | Creating Peacemakers through Creativity Workshop

Inspired by Vladmir Radunsky’s book “What does peace feel like?”

During one of the hands-on activities, attendees participated in a sensory based drawing inspired by Vladmir Radunsky’s book “What does peace feel like?.  Radunsky’s creative picture book challenges children to envision peace as one of the five senses.  It was lots of fun and a great group experiential to share what peace looks, tastes, smells, sounds, or feels like with one another!

Peace Flags: Creating Peacemakers through Creativity | TLC Assembly

Peace for me, us, everyone, the world: Creating peace flags

We also spent time creating Peace Flags focused around the theme of “Peace for me, Peace for us, Peace for everyone, and Peace for the world”, the core guidelines & values I try to cultivate in my Peacemaker Art Therapy groups.

What a great week! I look forward to next year’s Assembly which will be July 8-11, 2014!

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Related Posts:

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

Post Conference Resources: 2011 TLC Childhood Trauma Practitioner’s Assembly

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

My Trauma Informed Pinterest Board

Advocacy & Empowerment through Art: Social Action and Trauma Informed Care

June 23, 2013

The last couple of days I’ve been teaching a workshop at Ursuline College with the Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling Program focused on advocacy, empowerment, and the intersection of social action with trauma informed care through art-making.

Students were introduced to how creative expression through art therapy helps provide a safe place & voice for women & youth survivors of domestic violence, families living with homelessness, as well as the role of art-making for empowerment, peacemaking, craftivism and social action.

In addition to presenting about my art therapy work, the workshop’s content also included students learning about A Window Between World’s #icanwecan crowdsourcing campaign to create awareness and show support through art for ending violence and abuse against women. Students created their own pledge hands with messages of advocacy and empowerment inspired by this project, a population or cause in mental health they want to help empower.

Advocacy & Empowerment through Art: Social Action and Trauma Informed Care | creativity in motion

Pledge Hands of Empowerment & Advocacy

Students were also able to Skype with Drew & Margaret of Peace Paper to learn more about their current activities and projects using papermaking for transformation, trauma intervention, and empowerment, including Panty Pulping, working with survivors of domestic violence, military sexual trauma, and mental health advocacy.

Advocacy & Empowerment through Art: Social Action and Trauma Informed Care | creativity in motion

Peace Paper Project speaks to the class

Peacemaking through art was addressed through also presenting my group work with youth to explore concepts related to bullying, how to become a peacemaker, and art’s role in exploring conflict resolution.  Students also were introduced to Franck de las MercedesPriority Boxes Art Project and its role in activating messages of hope, love, and peace through art.

Our workshop ended with exploring the inspiring world of craftivism and Operative recruiting for Operation Sock Monkey and an upcoming mission for Russian children in orphanages and hospitals…we’ll be sending a delegation!

Advocacy & Empowerment through Art: Social Action and Trauma Informed Care | creativity in motion

OSM mission accepted!

If you’re interested in learning more about these topics, here are some helpful resources to check out:

It was great to spend these two days sharing my work and exploring these topics & projects with this group of graduate students. I look forward to reading and learning how each of the students incorporate the ideas and information presented in their assignments and future experiences!

Related Posts:

On the Go: Change, Transformation & Action through Art

Peace Begins with Me: Creating Peacemakers through Creativity

Survivor’s Hand: Finding Safety through Art #ICANWECAN

Peacemaking and DIY Papermaking

INOCENTE: A Young Girl’s Story of Homelessness and the Transformative Power of Art

Special Delivery- The Priority Mail Art Project

Finding Safety through Art: Relaxation Inspiration

June 18, 2013

Over at Lani’s 14 Secrets yesterday, the Monday challenge was devoted to cultivating relaxation- a very nice way to start off the week!  The challenge’s prompt included creating an art expression that reflected a state of peacefulness & relaxation.

For me, when I make art and I am in that creative head & heart space…a sense of calm and pause embodies me that nothing else can quite do.  I created this artist trading card size image to represent this sense of stillness and balance the creative process renews in me:

Finding Safety through Art: Relaxation Inspiration | creativity in motion
This prompt also inspired me to do some reflecting on the ways I use creative expression with the traumatized youth and women I work in art therapy to best help support a sense of relaxation, peace, and empower their inner strength to create this safe space.

The experience of safety, which is often fluid and can change very quickly with survivors of domestic violence. This often makes it difficult to feel at ease and take refuge from a brain constantly scanning for potential danger and a body geared up to defend against the next threat.  Self regulation, managing strong emotions related to fear & worry, and self soothing are areas of challenge, as well as transformation that can benefit from using art as part of this process.

Finding Safety though Art  | creativity in motion

Sometimes in my work this can involve, but is not limited to introducing sensory based art interventions to restore a sense of power, safely contain paralyzing emotions, and experience the creative process as a here & now safe place to take risks, discover ones strengths, support emotional safety, and instill hope.

Other experiences I introduce for helping “calm our bodies and our mind” can involve guided imagery, deep breathing, body movement, and therapeutic books. This book simply called Relax I enjoy using in group with some of the younger kids I work with.

 Also check out these books and CDs by Roger Klein and Jeffrey Allen to help promote self regulation, positive self affirmation, and tools for relaxation:

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Related Posts:

Survivor’s Hand: Finding Safety through Art: #ICANWECAN

Finding a Safe Place: Creating Safety for Domestic Violence Survivors through Art

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

Peace Begins with Me: Creating Peacemakers through Creativity

June 4, 2013

Coming up next month (July 9-12) is my annual summer trip to Michigan for The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children (TLC)’s- Childhood Trauma Practitioners Assembly.

2013 National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children Assembly

I am looking forward to obtaining more trauma informed knowledge & training to help strengthen my practice with women and youth impacted by domestic violence, homelessness, and loss- as well as spending time with other trauma specialists and practitioners who will be there.  I’m signed up to attend workshops about developing a trauma informed community, acceptance and commitment therapy, trauma group work with youth, therapeutic writing, responding to the aftermath of the Chardon school shooting, and the effects of secondary wounding on trauma recovery.  I hope to report back here on what I experienced and learned!

I am also grateful to be included in this year’s Assembly program again. I am presenting a morning workshop on the Assembly’s last day: Peace Begins with Me: Creating Peacemakers through Creativity.  This workshop will feature my art therapy work with youth exposed to domestic violence, bullying, and relational aggression who have been introduced to peacemaking concepts through art and the creative process.  The role of art in peacemaking, conflict resolution, and bullying prevention will be explored.  Art interventions, sensory based approaches, therapeutic books, and group work around this topic will also be presented and an art experiential for the group setting introduced.

Peace Begins with Me

Registration to attend is still open, if you’re interested in also attending!

Survivor’s Hand: Finding Safety through Art: #ICANWECAN

January 9, 2013

A Window Between Worlds has launched a new project to help bring awareness to end abuse through art: I CAN WE CAN.

From the AWBW website:

A Window Between Worlds developed the I CAN WE CAN project where everyone can lend their hand, literally, to help end abuse. Create art on your hands as a symbol of solidarity, a commitment that you will do what you can to help end domestic violence and sexual assault.”

My I CAN WE CAN Hand

Here’s my painted hand, which I titled Survivor’s Hand: Finding Safety through Art: Healing, Healthy, Safety, & Hope. As an art therapist working with children and women survivors of domestic violence, my hand represents how art provides a healthy and safe way to empower and create a voice for expression and awareness about abuse.  Purple is the awareness color designated for domestic violence and the words I added to my hand come from a word collage sheet I often use in my art therapy sessions for different interventions.

Learn how you can participate in this interactive project and upload your own hand here.  There’s a I CAN WE CAN Toolkit, Virtual Community Gallery, and a How to with prompts, suggestions, and tips for creating your own hand (or with others) and how to promote the project.  There’s lots of fun ways to share and take action for this important cause!

Journey Shoes: Walking In the Cycle of Violence

October 16, 2012

Journey Shoes: Cycle of Violence

Over at 6 Degrees of Creativity 2, I have waited to begin Magdalena Karlick‘s Journey Shoes workshop until this month, as I knew I wanted to do something around the shoes and Domestic Violence Awareness, which the month of October recognizes.

Magdalena’s workshop encourages exploration of a journey or experience through altering one’s own shoes or used shoes as symbols and expressions of these journeys. Read more about the concept behind Magdalena’s project with graduate art therapy students at Southwestern College here.

The pair of shoes I used for this project are not my own, but an abandoned, unwearable pair from the domestic violence shelter I work in offering art therapy to women and children. The shoes tell a story about the cycle of violence victims of abuse endure and its impact.

The top of the shoes are labeled and then stitched with components of the cycle of violence: acting out, tension building, minimizing, and then a period of calm.  The inside soles of the shoes include black and white portraits representing victims and feelings of (but not limited to) hurt, shame, fear, and guilt.  The shoes are displayed on a canvas board I’ve distressed with ink, beeswax, and collaged with dictionary definitions related to finding safety and hope.

Awareness and education about domestic violence has often been communicated through the symbolism of shoes in the form of educational exhibits, empathy based programming, fundraising walks or drives, and memorializing displays.

Check out these current or past activities involving shoes related to domestic violence:

In the future, I would like to create a response that uses another pair of shoes that highlights survivorship, resiliency, and new beginnings, as well as think more about how to incorporate this workshop’s prompt into my clinical work.

Thank you to Magdalena for sharing her powerful Journey Shoes idea!

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