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

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…

Advertisement

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

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.

My Creative Spaces, Places & More #wherewecreate

The Art Therapist Is In

This past week, I’ve started to upload preview photos for the art therapy photo documentary project Spaces & Places: Where We Create.  It has been very inspiring to see and learn about the creative spaces of the project’s endorsers who are offering a sneak peek into their work, spaces,  and favorite tools of the trade.  I am looking forward to learning even more from future submissions when Spaces & Places: Where We Create officially launches to the art therapy community on February 13.

I’ve been working on getting my photos together for the project, both my own personal art-making space and favorite materials, as well as the different spaces and such that I use as an art therapist.   Here are some initial pics that I have taken:

My Own Creative Space

These series of photos (above) show my creative space and office used for my own art-making, art therapy supervision, and small group art meet ups with friends & colleagues. The space is packed with my favorite art supplies (for collage, art journaling, altered art & bookmaking, painting, & drawing), inspiring photos, art, notes, toys, books, and more.

Some of my favorite materials to use in my own art

I have also started to take photos of the art therapy spaces,  favorite materials and approaches I use in my work as an Art Therapist with survivors of domestic violence in Cleveland, Ohio:

Art Therapy Spaces, Paper House Making, & Art Journaling

Part of my work at DVCAC includes providing community based art therapy to youth exposed to domestic violence through individual or support group services.  I also offer individual and group art therapy to youth and women who come to shelter to escape domestic violence.   As seen in previous posts here, I often use Paper House Making to explore and address safety planning, safe places, and to help contain overwhelming feelings associated with the worry,  fear, and terror that children and adolescents from violent homes experience.   Another photo I included is a material pic connected an art journaling group I recently started for women in shelter as a non-threatening space and means to manage traumatic stress and strengthen coping.

If you are interested in checking out the other photos that have been submitted so far (or future photos), check out the Art Therapy Alliance’s Set on Flickr for the project or follow photos via the Art Therapy Alliance’s Facebook page.

Guest Blog Post on SpeakArtLoud | Art Therapy and Domestic Violence

Check out my recent guest blog post on SpeakArtLoud:  Using Art Therapy with Survivors of Domestic Violence.

SpeakArtLoud is an innovative social-profit organization that uses the arts to empower women and improve communities.  Learn more about the organization’s vision, mission, and values here.

Thanks so much to Sally and SpeakArtLoud for the opportunity to contribute this posting, especially during Domestic Violence Awareness Month!

Art as a Voice: Art Therapy with Survivors of Domestic Violence

I am putting some finishing touches on my paper presentation for the annual Buckeye Art Therapy Association (BATA) Symposium about art therapy with survivors of domestic violence, which includes my current work with women and children in a shelter setting.  I am looking forward to sharing how art therapy provides an important voice and facilitate support around key issues such as creating safety, the cycle of violence, facilitating trauma intervention as well as offers an opportunity towards understanding, coping, and hope.

Attendees will:

  • learn trauma informed considerations, common treatment goals, and art interventions to consider when working with this population;
  •  learn about the impact of domestic violence and three ways art therapy empowers survivors feel safe and tell their story;
  • be able to identify three treatment goals to utilize in art therapy when working with survivors of domestic violence;
  •  be introduced to art interventions that help address issues around safety, support, the cycle of violence, and crisis intervention.

The paper will also highlight some content forthcoming in a new chapter about art therapy and domestic violence in the Second Edition of the Handbook of Art Therapy to be published in November.  It is a sincere honor to be a co-author of this chapter and wonderful that Guildford Press wanted to include a chapter dedicated to the use of art therapy with domestic violence survivors in this new edition.

This presentation also takes place on the eve of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is great timing to bring additional awareness to the issue, its impact, and resources to help survivors.

I look forward to seeing friends and colleagues from across Ohio and beyond come together soon for this year’s Symposium!

Resilience and Empathy: The Art of Healing Trauma

The 2011 Buckeye Art Therapy Association’s Annual Symposium, Resiliency & Empathy: The Art of Healing Trauma is being held September 30 and October 1 in Dublin, Ohio.  This year’s keynote sponsored by BATA and the Michigan Association of Art Therapy features Cathy Malchiodi who will be presenting an evening lecture and morning workshop on the impact of  resiliency, gratitude, and empathy in relationship to trauma intervention and recovery.  A pre-conference course with Cathy focused on Trauma Informed Art Therapy is also being offered in addition to the Symposium.

This year’s BATA Symposium Program includes additional presentation offerings and workshops on the application and use of art therapy with grief and loss, traumatic brain injury, adolescents,  as well as supervision, social media & ethics, and self-care.  I am especially looking forward to Elizabeth Sanders Martin and Emily Johnson’s workshop on Celebrating Life in Traditions of  the Day of the Dead. 

On Friday afternoon during the Symposium I’ll be presenting Art as a Voice: Art Therapy with Survivors of Domestic Violence which will provide an overview of art therapy with survivors of domestic violence and address trauma informed considerations, common treatment goals, and art interventions to consider when working with battered women in a shelter setting.  Content will be presented on the impact of domestic violence, how art therapy can provide a voice and facilitate support around key issues such as safety, the cycle of violence, and crisis intervention.

For more information about the program, lodging accomodations, and registration download BATA’s printable PDF brochure here.

Creating a Dialogue & Resource for Domestic Violence: Trauma Network Blogging

It’s official! I’ll be blogging as a core contributor for The Trauma Network,  a growing community of therapists coming together to learn new ways to advance their clinical practice, exchange resources, interventions, and find support related to trauma informed work.

My posts for the network will focus on considerations, strategies, best practices, and ideas for  therapists working with children, adolescents, families, and women impacted by domestic violence, including the benefits of using art and creative interventions with this population.

I hope my blogging will start a dialogue and create a trauma informed resource within this community connected to domestic violence and offer practical information useful for this area of work.  

To learn more about The Trauma Network and how to join (free!), please visit http://www.thetraumanetwork.com.

gretchen-miller.com: Re-designing & Re-visioning

My official website gretchen-miller.com was recently updated with some re-designing and re-visioning.  The site highlights my work, services, and interests:

gretchen-miller.com

Content featured on gretchen-miller.com includes:

  • Autobiographical Information: Learn more about my work as a Registered Board Certified Art Therapist and Certified Trauma Consultant, my educational training, clinical experience and specializations, interests, as well as professional affiliations with organizations such as The Combat Paper Project, The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children, and community organizing with The Art Therapy Alliance and Art Therapy Without Borders, Inc.
  • Information and Resources About Art Therapy– Learn more about what art therapy is and what art therapists do, including definitions, resources, and links from organizations such as The Art Therapy Alliance, International Art Therapy Organization, Art Therapy Without Borders, The Buckeye Art Therapy Association, and The Art Therapy Credentials Board, Inc.
  • Services– Learn more about art therapy services that I provide in the Greater Cleveland, Ohio area, which includes working with agencies and organizations serving traumatized and grieving children, adolescents, and families who have experienced illness, loss, and family violence. Other services highlighted include art therapist supervision, providing art therapy workshops and professional continuing education for agencies, schools, and community groups.
  • On the Grid– Information about my love and passion related to art therapy and technology, including blogging, on-line art therapy communities, podcasts featuring my work and interests, and the art therapy e-zine FUSION.
  • Presentations– View some of my SlideShare presentations about art therapy with children from homes of domestic violence, working with youth coping with grief and loss, as well as the impact of Bruce Perry’s work on my practice as an art therapist and trauma specialist working with traumatized youth.
  • Film/Art Gallery– Watch some of my favorite short videos and films featuring my collage art, altered books, community art events, and initiatives of The Art Therapy Alliance and Art Therapy Without Borders, Inc.

In the News: The Power of Art to Address Domestic Violence

 

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

As Domestic Violence Awareness Month continues throughout October, it has been nice to read several news articles this month highlighting the use of the arts to help raise awareness about domestic violence within communities and also how art can help survivors:

Bringing Awareness to Domestic Violence through Art

Peace Begins at Home

October is here which means it’s time to remember that this entire month is dedicated to bringing awareness to the issue of domestic violence.  As highlighted last year in my post for 2009’s DV Awareness Month, domestic violence is a cycle of  abuse  rooted in power and control towards an intimate partner.  Domestic violence can be physical, emotional, economic, and/or sexual abuse from batterer behaviors that use intimidation, isolation,  humiliation and tactics to create control, terror and fear.  To learn more about domestic violence, learn the warning signs, get help, and how to protect yourself or others, visit this resource through the Domestic Violence Awareness Project.

If you follow this blog or my art therapy work, the issue of domestic violence is also  important to me because of my work with children and women survivors of domestic violence.  This work includes offering art therapy to youth, families, and women seeking safety and reaching out for immediate help in shelter, as well as providing art therapy services to youth in the community impacted by trauma and loss issues related to family violence, separation, and abuse.

Learn more about how art can be valuable for trauma intervention, give a voice for domestic violence, and explore opportunities for families to break the cycle of abuse and live violence free:

Art can also be a creative, non-threatening, and preventative outlet to help bring community awareness about DV, as seen in Northeast Florida for Hubbard House’s 1st Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Month Youth Art Contest.

I like this project a lot because not only does it address violence prevention through art, but also challenges the community to think about themes related to how violence can impact a child’s daily life.  If you live in the NE Florida area, art submissions are being accepted until October 21.