Posts Tagged ‘trauma’

The Art of Relationships in Trauma Informed Work

May 18, 2018

This week Dr. Bruce Perry was here in Cleveland again (!) and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend his all day training focusing on the Six Core Strengths for Healthy Childhood Development. Inspiring, as always! Much of what he spoke about reinforced the immense power relationships have in trauma informed care. I compiled the notes I took from Dr. Perry’s lecture into some art with a few of (the many!) takeaways I wanted to remember about this topic:

Notes inspired by Dr. Bruce Perry, Cleveland 5/15/2018

  1. Relationships are more important than any adversity. Multiple adverse circumstances or experiences can be buffered by the healthy, positive relational connection in our lives.
  2. We live a relational driven life- our relationships with others impact us the most.
  3. The nature and number of healthy, positive relationships we have is key to our resilience, healing and recovery.
  4. Human beings are relational creatures and our behaviors, actions, feelings, and experiences are contagious to others.
  5. A trauma informed community and relational milieu is a healing community.
  6. Relational health = the degree of our internetwork of connectedness (Relational Poverty vs. Relational Wealth)
  7. Communication is all about rupture + repair, disconnection + connection — it is essential to explicitly acknowledge our differences, assumptions, implicit biases to build relationships.
  8. Therapeutic dosing and therapeutic spacing is important to provide tiny, repetitive doses of engagement, distancing, then re-engagement to support change.

Check out this Child Trauma Academy Resource of many of the slides and content presented during this training.

As an art therapist, I also reflected on how art-making, the creative process, and trauma intervention through art therapy supports relational considerations presented by Dr. Perry.  Art therapy “effectively supports personal and relational treatment goals” (The American Art Therapy Association) through:

  • Creating and/or re-establishing a safe space to explore feelings, responses, and experiences through active engagement in “bottom up” sensory-based intervention that supports lower parts of the brain where trauma resides;
  • Making art together in groups, families, and communities can foster healthy interactions, connectedness, and a sense of belonging that transcends language;
  • Art therapy creates opportunities to explore themes of deconstruction and reconstruction through the art making process and offer insight into internal and external communication, conflict, biases, and relational restoration;
  • The nature of art making with an art therapist offers repetitive, patterned, and parallel action while safely regulating and managing traumatic stress and triggers that could activate ones response system
  • An opportunity to build and strengthen resilience through meaningful art-based interactions and interventions that explore safety, change, vulnerability, and regulation.

Thank you Dr. Perry for returning to Cleveland and another great day of trauma informed learning!

 

Related Posts

Reflections on Art Therapy, Trauma, & Group Work

Top Ten Takeaways : PEP Symposium Dr. Bruce Perry in Cleveland (2013)

Top 10: Impact of Trauma and Neglect on the Developing Child with Dr. Bruce Perry (2012)

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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

Trauma Informed Self-Care Tips for the Holidays

December 1, 2017

The holiday season is upon us: at home, in the workplace, in our communities, classrooms, and far and wide in the media, online, and in neighborhood stores.

This time of year can inspire festive gatherings and activities of joy, togetherness, and heartfelt memories with family and friends. For some, though, the holidays can be a challenging time of stress, adversity, and a difficult trigger of strong emotions, pressures, or traumatic experiences. This topic is the focus of my new guest post for The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children’s (TLC) blog, helping to provide a trauma informed considerations for the holidays and additional resources to learn more.  Read more here.

Art Therapy In Action Interview Series

November 4, 2017

The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) has started to release a series of videos, Art Therapy in Action, that features credentialed art therapists talking about their work with a variety of populations, settings, and topics.  This series of interviews describe “how the unique and integrative properties of art therapy can enrich lives, support personal and relational treatment goals, address community concerns, and advance societal and ecological change”.  If you are interested in learning more about how art therapists work, these videos offer a great look into the different approaches, applications, and ways art therapy can be facilitated.

Some of the videos already released include interviews with art therapists who work with:

  • Adolescents
  • Children in Hospital Settings
  • Individuals in the LGBTQIA Community
  • Veterans and Military Service Members
  • Older Adults and Memory Care
  • Eating Disorders
  • Prisons and Correctional Settings
  • Research
  • Cross Cultural Projects and Communities

I am honored that I was also able to contribute to this series, participating in an interview about art therapy and trauma with art therapy colleagues Cheryl Doby-Copeland and Juliet King:

Future topics, interviews, and art therapists will continue to be added to this series, so stay tuned for more on AATA’s YouTube Channel or on the AATA website.

Creative Arts Therapies Week 2017

March 12, 2017

Creative Arts Therapies Week begins today!  This week (March 12-18) is an an opportunity to celebrate and recognize the work of creative arts therapists and the membership organizations of the National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Associations (NCCATA), which includes:

  • Art therapists
  • Music therapists
  • Drama therapists
  • Poetry therapists
  • Dance/Movement therapists
  • Psychodrama

In honor of this special week I wanted to share a couple of resources related to my own work as an art therapist:

  • I recently updated this SlideShare presentation that I often use when speaking to high school and college students about art therapy and some of education and training required to be an art therapist:

 

To learn more about the work of creative arts therapists, additional resources, and how to locate a qualified professional in your area, please visit these NCCATA membership associations:

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Creativity & The Arts in Healing

January 15, 2017

The UCLArts & Healing Conference in partnership with the Expressive Therapies Summit presents Creativity & The Arts in Healing to be offered this spring March 30 through April 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport. This 4 day conference is an opportunity to learn arts-based tools for facilitating communication, building connection, promoting positive emotions, fostering engagement, reducing stress, and managing the impact of trauma.  Offerings include 125+ workshops delivered by leading national experts in art, dance, drama, drumming, music, and writing integrated with mental health practices. Select any one or combination of days. Over 30 continuing education credits are available.

Creativity & Arts in Healing | creativty in motion

Specialty tracks include:

  • Mindfulness & Wellbeing
  • Children & Adolescents
  • Community Building & Social Justice
  • Expressive Writing & Journaling
  • Play Therapy
  • Special Populations

Creative expression invites self-reflection and dialogue that can lead to meaningful self-discovery, connection with others, and personal empowerment. Studies have shown that the arts—particularly when integrated with mental health practices—can yield social, emotional, physical and cognitive benefits. The nonverbal aspect of the arts transcends traditional barriers of age, ability, and culture. Shared creative experiences build empathy and community, which expand possibilities for action and transformation.

Creativity & Arts in Healing | creativty in motion

I am excited to be offering one of my favorite trauma informed and strength based workshops at this event: Tokens of Esteem and Affirmation, a mixed media art making session dedicated to making Artist Challenge Coins.  In the military, a Challenge Coin is a medallion symbolizing achievement or esteem. They are also given out to enhance morale and membership for members of the community. In the spirit of Challenge Coins, participants will learn how to make and use Artist Challenge Coins as tokens of affirmation, strength, and recovery.

Learning objectives:

  • Participants will describe 3 examples connected to the history and significance of Challenge Coins used to symbolize achievement, community building, and instill a sense of belonging;
  • Participants will state 3 ways Artist Challenge Coins (ACCs) can be adapted to use with a variety of populations and therapeutic settings.
  • Participants will describe a minimum of 1 value of using Challenge Coins with varied clinical populations.

Not only will we be making a series of our own coins, but participants will also  engage in a community art exchange with other workshop attendees.  I would love to have you join us- this half day workshop is scheduled for Sunday, April 2, 10 am-1pm.

To register and learn more about the Summit, its awesome line up of offerings and teaching faculty, check out www.expressivetherapiessummit.la. Early bird discounts are available through February 17!   See you in LA!

 

Creativity & The Arts in Healing | creativity in motion

Creativity & The Arts in Healing | creativity in motion

 

Creativity & The Arts in Healing | creativity in motion

 

 

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Make Paper, Make Peace

March 22, 2016

Earlier this month Drew Matott and I taught another Peace Paper papermaking, trauma intervention and social action course- this one for Counseling and Art Therapy graduate students at Ursuline College.  It was fun to teach together again over 2 days and introduce the 26 students we had to the therapeutic benefits of papermaking.

Make Paper, Make Peace | creativity in motionMake Paper, Make Peace | creativity in motion

Students were introduced to the work and travels of Peace Paper, its history and mission to collaborate with the art therapy community, and a variety of examples about how papermaking can be used with many different populations- especially in relationship to trauma, loss, & recovery, as well as bring awareness to issues related to mental health, sexual assault, and bullying.

Make Paper, Make Peace | creativity in motion

Students made lots of paper over the course of the workshop– probably at least 150 sheets (!) and experimented with pulp printing, double couching, and book binding.  Paper was first made using Peace Paper’s Hollander Beater from meaningful articles of clothing or a piece of fabric that students brought and wanted to transform into paper… as a new beginning or as an act of letting go of something.  Students also were introduced to DIY papermaking without the use of a Hollander, to explore adaptable options in the art therapy setting.

Make Paper, Make Peace | creativity in motion

What a great couple of days making paper with this group!

If you’re interested in Peace Paper’s trainings and workshops throughout the rest of 2016, check out the tour schedule here.  News about Peace Paper and resources for papermaking can be found here.

Make paper, make peace!

Related Posts

When It’s Hot…Make Some Paper!

Nepalese Style Peace Paper On the Go

Peacemaking & DIY Papermaking

 

Create Fest: The 1st Annual Virtual Creativity Festival for Mental Health Professionals

February 8, 2016

Check this out! Create Fest — The 1st Annual Virtual Creativity Festival for Mental Health Professionals!

I am soooo excited to be a part of this offering!

Lisa Michell and Courtney Armstrong have brought together 12 influential therapists, and asked each to offer inspired approaches that will help you partner with your creativity to do your best work and elicit deep transformation within your clients (and yourself).

CreateFest | creativity in motionDiscover new, creative ideas and earn 12 CEU’s from the comfort of your own home or office and… each speaker will lead an inspiring activity you can do during the festival to experience these transformational strategies yourself!

I am speaking about topics related to self-care, trauma focused work, and creativity’s role in supporting mental health professionals. It was a pleasure to speak with Lisa about these topics–  It’s an honor to be included in the debut of this event with such an inspiring line up with so much to offer…

If it seems like this offering would fit related to your work, I hope you’ll join us later this month!  🙂

Learn all about the offerings and speakers for this event here!

Purposeful Parenting & Creativity

July 5, 2015

Purposeful Parenting & Creativity | creativity in motion

July recognizes Purposeful Parenting Month, which highlights the significant relational value of parents and children having resilient and meaningful connections with one another. Purposeful Parenting embraces understanding, unconditional love, and empathy with the consistency of structure, safety, and healthy boundaries. To parent with purpose is to be an active contributor in sustaining rapport, connection, and intention with your child or teen.

One of the group offerings I facilitate is an art therapy group for moms living in a shelter with their children as they work on transitioning out of homelessness. This art therapy group is part of the shelter’s trauma informed parenting support program as an opportunity to receive nurturing assistance during this challenging time to strengthen coping, self-care, and explore empowering ways to sustain an affirming relationship in their child’s lives. The power of art and the creative process offers a safe place to address these topics.  Over the years that I’ve been involved with this program, I’ve met moms of amazing strength and resilience, not only committed to creating healthier relationships and attachments with their children, but often working on their own trauma recovery.

For children who have experienced trauma and loss in their young lives, having adult attachments that engage with purpose and compassion can be a key component to their healing. Perry & Szalavitz (2006) speak to how a child’s relationship with the adults in their lives has an essential component to how they react to trauma. They also note that if a child is surrounded and nurtured by caregivers who are safe, comforting, dependable, and present; this can help protect youth from the adverse effects of trauma, as well as strengthen their ability to recover.

“Recognizing the power of relationships and relational cues is essential to effective therapeutic work, and indeed, to effective parenting, caregiving, teaching, and just about any other human endeavor.” (p. 67, The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog).

Ohio’s American Academy of Pediatrics identities six components to purposeful parenting for parents and caregivers to keep in mind. Being Protective, Personal, Progressive, Positive, Playful, and Purposeful in our relationships decreases the impact of chronic stress exposure and ultimately supports a child’s fullest potential and well-being.

The foundation of purposeful parenting and fostering relational enrichment inspired me to reflect on some fun and creative activities for families (and adult helpers involved in children’s lives) to engage in together that encourage affirming experiences and supportive interaction. Creative experiences can be an enjoyable way to foster connection, develop interpersonal ties, and positive memories:
  • Painting with Bubbles or Shaving Cream: These sensory-based twists on painting can encourage play and experimentation between child and parent using simple, inexpensive materials. Levine & Kline (2008) cite that activities involving art expression such as painting and drawing are great bonding opportunities for parents to engage in alongside their children.
  • Sidewalk Chalk: Grab a bucket or box of sidewalk chalk, head outside and take a break to chalk it up together—at home, a local park, or playground! Suggested ideas to support collective participation in this activity include drawing where the child and parent can add to one another’s images, marks, or doodles. If you are up for making your own sidewalk chalk, here’s how. Families can also play these classic sidewalk chalk games.
  • Nature Walk & Scavenger Hunt: Parents, young children, and teens can benefit from unplugging and taking time to enjoy the outdoors, fresh air and reconnect! Take a walk in nature, go biking or hiking together. Create a scavenger hunt of different nature items that the family can look for and find as a group or in pairs.
  • Homemade Play Dough and Goop: Spend a morning or afternoon making a batch of play dough together, or for older kids goop recipes can be equally as inviting and fun. You can even make scented play dough, which can add an additional sensory component to this experience.
  • Visit an Art Museum, Art Festival, or Creative Community Event: Check out your local art museum or art event as a family outing. Many museums have family related programming or guides that can help enhance your experience!  Here in Cleveland, the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Gallery One offers a hands on, interactive family-friendly art space called Studio Play.  And it’s free!

No matter what the month or season, there is true power in the relationships we nurture for the children and teens we care for, either as parents, caregivers, or helpers. It’s important to keep enriching these healthy attachments by cultivating safe experiences and moments of meaning all year round.

Recommended Reading:

Levine, P.A., & Kline, M. (2008). Trauma-proofing your kids: A parent’s guide to instilling confidence, joy, and resilience. Berkeley : North Atlantic Books.

Perry, B.D., & Szalavitz, M. (2006). The boy who was raised as a dog. New York: Basic Books.

Resources:

Introduction to Purposeful Parenting (PDF) | Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

The Benefits of Purposeful Parenting | Office of Adolescent Health

The Artful Parent

PaintCutPaste

Summertime Creative Happenings & Goings On

May 26, 2015

Summer is starting to kick off and so is some creative fun and art therapy happenings coming soon:

Creativity In Motion | twenty15 on the go

July 1: 6 Degrees of Creativity’s 2015 virtual workshops open!  Yay!

Imagination Unearthed: Hidden Creativity Scavenger Hunt | creativity in motion

6 Degrees of Creativity

As part of this year’s offerings, I am excited to launch a new workshop dedicated to discovering the hidden creativity around us.  My curiosity around this topic was first sparked by this recent post and something I thought would be a fun endeavor to embark on together as we search for uncommon or unknown ways, forms, and different examples of how creativity can present itself.  I am also looking forward to the offerings that art therapy colleagues Sheila Lorenzo, Rachel Mims, and Heather Randazzo will be inviting participants to engage in as well, which include workshop topics on self-care through art & nature, recycled art & mail art fun, and yoga & art.

Summertime Happenings and Goings On | creativity in motion

Social Media & Art Therapy

July 9-11- American Art Therapy Association Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota: I will be involved with three offerings during this year’s AATA Conference:

  • The Digital Landscape of Social Media: Thursday, July 9, 1:30-2:30 pm: I will be leading this focus group to stimulate dialogue and discussion about social networking’s important role in building community
    and creating connection for art therapists worldwide.
  • Art, Transformation, and Trauma: Papermaking as Art Therapy: Friday, July 10, 10:15-11:45 am: I will be moderating this panel featuring the work of  art therapists who use papermaking inspired by the social action and art-based mission of the Peace Paper Project. Panelists include Meredith McMakin, Rachel Mims, Amy Bucciarelli, Genevieve Camp, and Janice Havlena. Content will include papermaking as a form of trauma intervention, including vignettes addressing eating disorder recovery, managing illness and disability, grief and loss, and working with veterans.
  • Ethics of Identity in Digital Culture & Art Therapy: Saturday, July 11, 10:15-11:45 am: I will be contributing to this panel with art therapists Megan Campbell, Moriah Lancaster-Laird, and Natalie Carlton about topics connected to digital technologies and ethical considerations for the art therapy profession.

I am also looking forward to bringing Creative Deed 365 to Minneapolis and invite you to consider joining us if you will be attending the conference!

July 24- ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County Trauma Collaborative: I’ve been invited to present on Art Therapy & Trauma Intervention to members and agencies who attend this quarterly meeting.

Stay tuned for other updates and art from Creative Deed 365 and the Random Acts of Art Adventure, in upcoming summer posts as these creative pursuits carry on!  And I hope to be able to share some of the wonderful work in the spirit of my Creative Covenants workshop happening over at Hali Karla Arts’ Spectrum too. And, right around the corner….Daisy Yellow’s ICAD 2015 begins June 1 – Wondering if I should combine my creative deed making with daily index card creating for this fun annual event? Hmmm…. more on this in my next post!

Summertime creativity is definitely in the air!

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Related Posts:

Creative Deed 365 Minneapolis

When it’s hot…Make some paper!

Social Media’s Role in Cultivating Art Therapy Connection, Community, & Creativity

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