Using Art Therapy to Overcome Trauma

Using Art Therapy to Overcome TraumaThose suffering from trauma may attempt many forms of treatment before finding the therapy most beneficial to them. Often, individual and group counseling is utilized as the first treatment for trauma victims while other forms of therapy remain overlooked. Art therapy is a form of treatment that is often overlooked despite the fact that it has been found to have profound effects on the mental health of trauma victims.

What Is Art Therapy?

Art therapy is a form of treatment that uses visual creativity as a means of expression. By expressing feelings and emotions through art, many are able to overcome physical and psychological problems. Art therapy has been successfully used for a wide variety of conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), autism, depression, anxiety, behavioral disorders, and eating disorders.

In addition to personal expression of psychological and emotional concerns, art therapy has many benefits. Those who participate in art therapy often find that they are able to strengthen their sense of self and build a sturdier self-esteem. It also teaches effective, nonhazardous coping mechanisms that can be used in future stressful scenarios.

There are several types of art therapy available to those seeking treatment for their concerns. Perhaps the most common form of art therapy is sketching and drawing with pencils, colored pencils, crayons, markers, or paint. The creation of collages, dream catchers, decorated boxes, or clay figures may also be utilized in art therapy. Different exercises call for different forms of art therapy.

Effects of Art Therapy on Trauma Victims

In art therapy, the trained therapist may have clients use a specific exercise or allow the client to create whatever they choose. Both types of practices are effectively used in the treatment of trauma victims, such as those with PTSD. Through the free expression of whatever the client chooses, therapists can analyze artistic metaphors for mental concerns. This open expression is often used to determine which aspects of the clients’ trauma are of greatest concern to them.

In the use of preformed exercises, art therapists can dig deeper into specific concerns in relation to traumatic memories. For example, an art therapist may need to use a specific safety-related art intervention for a child who has frequently witnessed domestic violence. For this scenario, the child might be instructed to create a “safety box.” This is a recycled, self-decorated box that can be used to keep drawings that are made of situations he or she felt unsafe in. Safety boxes can be greatly beneficial for these children, who may otherwise feel unsafe expressing their emotions.

Get Help for Trauma

If you or someone you know suffers from a traumatic experience, it is important to seek advice about appropriate treatment services. Please call our toll-free number today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about treatment for trauma recovery.