Posts Tagged ‘safety’

Self Care through Creative Practice & Intention: Anchoring

July 21, 2013

After some time away from working in my self-care art journal, I’ve worked on a couple of new pages:

Self Care through Creative Practice & Intention:  Anchoring | creativity in motion

Self Care through Creative Practice & Intention: Art Journal

As mentioned in my last post, I was inspired by Cherie Spehar‘s reminder at this year’s National Institute for Trauma in Loss in Children’s Assembly about anchoring– and its role in journaling & trauma informed practice. In Cherie’s workshop, she mindfully highlighted that the process of journaling in connection to inner thoughts, strong emotions, intense memories, and painful experiences can trigger overwhelming responses for trauma survivors.  Part of proceeding with emotional caution includes anchoring, which involves creating a mini safety plan (before starting to journal) about what the client can do or go to, to help re-establish safety and ground themselves to the here and now if needed.

This resource (Reconnecting to the Present-Anchoring PDF) provides a really good overview about the process, benefits, and tips about anchoring from SASC. Another great reference is Babette Rothschild’s “applying the brakes” content in relationship to trauma intervention.

Self-Care through Creative Practice & Intention: Anchoring | creativity in motion

One anchoring consideration is to re-connect to a positive past image.  A sensory based symbol (a smell, sound, taste, feeling, something you see) can be chosen for recall when feeling out of control and overwhelmed. This can help re-establish a sense of safety and well-being in the present.

For this art journal, I created an Anchoring Artist Trading Card that helps ground and re-connect me to the here and now.  The sensation, feeling, and reflection of light often does this me.

You could also create a Portable Safe Place Artist Trading Card as another form of your personal anchor!

Self Care through Creative Practice & Intention: Mind Mapping | creativity in motion

Some self care mind mapping

I also did some mind mapping for my art journal in the form of a tri-fold to help expand on my self care plan and anchoring related to my professional self. I identified 4 important areas in honoring my own self care: Safety, Creativity, Support, and Well-being.

Self Care through Creative Practice & Intention:  Anchoring | creativity in motion

Tri fold notes to myself

This was an easy and fun way to create a visual self care plan!

Self Care through Creative Practice & Intention:  Anchoring | creativity in motion

Self-care plan made visible

Prompt: What would your personal anchor and self-care mind map look like?

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Related Posts:

I Care for Me: Self Care through Creative Practice & Intention

Self Care through Creative Practice & Intention: Gratitude

Self Care through Creative Practice & Intention: Affirmation

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

Paper House Making at SIUE’s Fall Art Therapy Conference

October 2, 2012

This past week-end I enjoyed spending time with art therapy graduate students and faculty at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville as part of their 2012 Fall Conference.  It was a great couple of days featuring two of my passions in art therapy:  an evening presentation about my interest in community organizing  through social media and online art collaborations, as well as an all day workshop about my clinical work with youth survivors of domestic violence.

Saturday’s workshop included art-making time focused on creating paper houses as a way to explore and introduce themes related to finding safety through art.  It was exciting to see the different houses, environments, and additions students made from the variety of awesome materials provided.

Even more exciting was when we brought our individual houses together to create our own safe village full of creative and vibrant energy (!) :

Houses come together to create a vibrant & creative village!

If you’re interested in learning more about this art intervention and the steps involved to make your own paper house (or village!), my download on SlideShare about Paper House Making with Youth Exposed to Domestic Violence can be accessed here:

Thank you to SIUE’s Student Art Therapy Association and faculty for a great conference and visit!

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…

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

June 8, 2012

I am looking forward to offering a new workshop that will be offered at this year’s National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children’s (TLC) Childhood Trauma Practitioners Assembly, Finding a Safe Place: Creating Safety for Domestic Violence Survivors through Art.  This half day afternoon workshop on the Assembly’s first day will present some of my work addressing safety issues through art expression with youth and women survivors of domestic violence.

In my current individual and group work with women, children, and adolescents, creating a sense of safety has a heightened and complex state beyond establishing a strong therapeutic rapport and alliance. Issues and themes related to safety and managing traumatic stress for survivors of domestic violence are increasingly impacted by feelings of intense worry, a constant state of fear, and living in relentless uncertainty. Addressing safety planning, shelter adjustment, confusing and frightening legal issues related to court, custody and visitation arrangements, as well as coping with difficult secondary losses such as leaving one’s home, separation from friends & family, belongings, pets or changing schools are often here and now realities.

My TLC workshop will present the benefits of art expression in trauma intervention to provide a safe and creative space for survivors to re-establish, become comfortable with, and begin to find a sense of refuge in their lives again. Through sensory based art experiences that support & promote emotional expression, strength based adaptive coping, relaxation, and builds on concepts of resiliency, survivors can also begin to be grounded in hope , compassion, and understanding.

This year’s TLC Assembly, The Experience Matters (July 10-13, 2012) includes a variety of all day trauma workshops & topics, certification courses, and crisis training throughout the week that supports viewing and relating to trauma informed care as an experience.

To learn more about this year’s Assembly, check out the full program of offerings here.  Early registration ends soon on June 11.

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