Posts Tagged ‘trauma informed care’

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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Craftivism Inspiration

July 27, 2013

A section of my summer course on art therapy, social action, and trauma informed care included introducing art therapy & counseling graduate students at Ursuline College to the role of craftivism and its possibilities to empower vulnerable populations, as well as promote important social causes and issues through do it yourself crafty goodness:

As Betsy Greer defines:

craft + activism = craftivism

“By advocating the use of creativity for the improvement of the world, craftivists worldwide taught knitting lessons, sewed scarves for battered women’s shelters, and knitted hats for chemotherapy patients…. In promoting the idea that people can use their own creativity to improve the world, craftivism allows those who wish to voice their opinions and support their causes the chance to do just that…”

~Betsy Greer, “Craftivism.” Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice (2007).

Craftivism can take on many handmade forms, including radical needlepointing, crosstiching, knitting, fiber arts, and lots more.  Here’s a great article: Yarn Bombing, Knit Graffiti and Underground Brigades: A Study of Craftivism and Mobility if you are interested in learning more about guerilla textiles in action.  Another great piece is: Craftivism: Art with Attitude which provides a nice overview about the power in creativity to be heard and help create a better world.

As published here before, my craftivist love is sock monkey making…. (!) introduced to me a couple of years ago by my sock monkey hero and art therapist Kat Thorsen and the amazing work of Operation Sock Monkey (OSM).

Craftivism Inspiration | creativity in motion

Students in my class became operatives and craftivists for an upcoming OSM mission by learning how to make a sock monkey delegate as one of their assignments.

Craftivism Inspiration | creativity in motion

Originally, our delegation group was scheduled to travel to orphanges and children’s hospitals in Moscow and St. Petersburg Russia for an OSM & Clowns Sans Frontières mission. Word from OSM Headquarters is now there’s a greater need for more sock monkey smiles in Cape Town, South Africa as part of the Sinovuyo Caring Families Project with Clowns Without Borders South Africa.

From the OSM website: “Sinovuyo is focused on the highest-­‐risk families with children ages 3 to 8 years: caregivers affected by HIV/AIDS or domestic violence. The programme aims to help parents and caregivers develop nurturing relationships with their children, prevent and reduce abusive parenting, while coping with stress from HIV/AIDS, poverty, and violence.”

Sock monkeys are used in storytelling and activities that promote parent/child communication and bonding.  Learn more here.

Craftivism Inspiration | creativity in motion

Destination: South Africa’s Sinovuyo Project

This group of sock monkeys look forward to meeting & helping families served by the Sinovuyo Project.  Job well done by all the students with their first Operative Mission!  Mission accomplished! I hope it inspires lots more sock monkey making & craftivism in their future….  🙂

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Related Posts:

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

Sewing, Swapping, & Service

Operation Sock Monkey Making

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

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