Posts Tagged ‘peacemaking’

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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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

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!

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

May 18, 2013

I’ve been prepping for some art therapy offerings I’ll be teaching and presenting on this summer that highlight the use of art as a tool for change, transformation, and action:

In June, I’ll be teaching Advocacy and Empowerment: Social Action and Trauma Informed Care as an intensive summer course for graduate students in Ursuline College’s Art Therapy & Counseling Program. This course will introduce students to trauma informed art-based strategies and creative applications that can be implemented into a socially engaged therapeutic practice with individuals, groups, and in the community.  Students will discover how creative expression helps provide a voice for women & youth survivors of domestic violence, families living with homelessness, and learn more about the role of art-making for empowerment, peacemaking, craftivism, and social action.

Advocacy & Empowerment: Social Change and Trauma Informed Care

In July, at The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children (TLC)’s Childhood Trauma Practitioners Assembly in Clinton Township, Michigan I will be presenting the workshop Peace Begins with Me: Creating Peacemakers through Creativity. This offering will focus on strategies important to facilitating group work about peacemaking themes with children who have been exposed to domestic violence, bullying, and relational aggression.  Participants will be introduced to sensory-based interventions, therapeutic books, and art expression that fosters peacemaking concepts, as well as cultivates possibilities for social change. In addition, content presented will help participants gain a trauma informed understanding about how these strategies and interventions promote safety, emotional expression, and coping.

I am looking forward to sharing my work, as well as other inspiring programs, projects, & initiatives with students and professionals interested in these topics. Lots of opportunities to get more involved with social action through art and the creative process!

And on a related note, I’m also thrilled to share this interview I did with Jocelyn Paige Kelly for Realizing Your Creative Life about using art for change and transformation. It includes some reflections on my passion for art therapy, my work with survivors of trauma, the artist trading card exchange Pocket Change, art based socially engaged projects that inspire me, and more.  Check it out! Thanks to Jocelyn for the invitation to contribute to this interview series!

Healing Imagination V @ Ursuline College

May 25, 2011

I recently finished “The House That Change Built” for Healing Imagination V, a juried art exhibition to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Ursuline College’s Art Therapy and Counseling Program. This house is dedicated to hope, growth, & truth and built from trust, art, safety and to never stop dreaming.

The House That Change Built

The house was first made with cardstock using these paperfolding steps, then covered with plaster modeling strips to experiment with using this material and another media for my new obsession of making mini houses.  The plaster was painted and embellished with collage, stamping, fragments, and a new material I received from Cathy (thanks!): grungeboard!  I used the grungeboard to create mini message flags that I painted, stamped, and sewed together for hanging across the front of the house.

Grungeboard Message Flags

I’ve also been working on a mini brown paper bag journal for donating to this event’s art raffle and to benefit tornado relief efforts in Missouri.  On the edges of the inside “pockets”  I’ve stamped the words create, give, be, and peace to go along with the peacemaking theme I am working on for the book.

Create, Give, Be...Peace

The Healing Imagination V opens on June 3 with a reception (5:00-6:30 pm) followed by a gallery talk (6:30-7:30) with Artist, Author, and Art Therapist Shaun McNiff at Ursuline College‘s Florence O’Donnell Wasmer Gallery.  The exhibit will be on display until July 8.

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