Using Art Therapy to Overcome Trauma

Using Art Therapy to Overcome Trauma

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that utilizes art as a medium for communication between a client and a therapist. Registered art therapists can work with a wide range of age groups from children to the elderly. Art therapy has become particularly effective for children suffering from some form of trauma, but it is also commonly successful for adults. Art therapy is also commonly used for war veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How Art Therapy Can Help Trauma Victims

Art therapy focuses on discovering and reconciling severely repressed emotions due to a traumatic experience. In some cases, individuals can experience a traumatic event that causes them to have no recollection of the event after the fact. Art therapy can be beneficial in recovering repressed memories and emotions through creative expression. Some of the basic goals of art therapy can include the following:

  • Resolve internal conflicts
  • Develop interpersonal skills
  • Manage negative behavior
  • Reduce stress
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Increase self-awareness
  • Gain insight

After a traumatic event, many individuals are unable or unwilling to talk about the experience with anyone, including a private therapist. Art therapy often allows patients to express emotions and experiences they are unable to put it into words. Art therapists are specifically trained to assess what certain artistic expressions represent from a person’s subconscious mind. Assessing artistic expressions is similar in a way to assessing the dreams that people have. Within the medium of art, different images, lines, shapes, colors and textures that patients use can all have expressive meaning behind them. There are many different mediums of art that can be used during art therapy including the following:

  • Paintings
  • Sketches
  • Sculptures
  • Collages

After a deeply traumatic event the human brain will often utilize an automatic protection technique that immediately represses disturbing images, thoughts and feelings. Creative expression in art can help an individual to uncover repressed feelings that can aid in overcoming a traumatic experience. There are often numerous obstacles for trauma patients to overcome during therapy. One of the major obstacles to overcoming trauma is getting past the avoidance stage. Trauma patients often try to avoid thinking or discussing the experience with anyone. Creativity during art therapy can allow the patient to approach and express feeling towards the subject without even realizing it. Also, the fact that art therapy sessions are often enjoyable can be beneficial to many trauma patients. Art therapy sessions allow the patients to enjoy themselves while gaining insights into their feelings.

Need Help Finding Trauma-Related Treatment?

If you or someone you know is struggling with a traumatic experience and needs help, please call our toll-free number now. Our admissions coordinators are standing by 24 hours a day in order to help you find a treatment program that will work for you. Experience a healthy recovery. Call us today.