How Art Therapy Can Help Adult Victims Of Child Abuse Heal And Thrive?
Art therapy, which has been around since the 1940s, has been proven to be an effective tool to process traumatic experiences in a healthy way. One small study found that art therapy can reduce stress levels and negative mental states, as well as promote positive feelings of self-efficacy and creative agency. Each therapist has his or her own approach to treating clients. Art therapy is especially effective in cases where clients have trouble expressing themselves, and may be more likely to open up with a nonverbal medium.
What Is Art Therapy?
Art therapy is used to help people of all ages explore their emotions, understand themselves, increase their self-esteem, manage behavior, and improve their relationships using an artistic medium. An art therapy session could be held in a variety of ways, from private counseling to wellness centers to hospitals. These sessions can be practiced in one-on-one settings, in small groups, and in workshops. It’s important to understand that art therapy sessions aren’t art lessons — their ultimate goal is to help clients improve, which sometimes entails restoring their functioning and sense of wellbeing.
Though art therapy doesn’t need any artistic talent to succeed, it’s most effective with people who have an easier time expressing themselves non-verbally, using creative mediums such as drawing, coloring, music, or dance. These simple art exercises don’t just help people express themselves artistically, but also allows them to get a better understanding of themselves, as well as communicate difficult experiences, such as trauma and grief.
Art, Trauma, And Healing
People recovering from traumatic experiences often have difficulties expressing themselves with words, especially when they’ve gone on for years without getting any help. Art expression taps into the sensory memory, allowing survivors to process trauma visually when words fail them. It also helps clients distance themselves from the traumatic experience, making it easier for them to share their thoughts, emotions, and memories.
Artistic expression is empowering. By giving survivors an avenue to solve problems and make choices, it bolsters their self-esteem and strengthens their sense of self. Creating art can also foster a sense of safety and wellbeing, which is crucial to recovery. By using art to process negative memories, survivors can move on from their traumatizing experiences and leave them behind.
What To Look For In An Art Therapist
Because art can also be triggering to survivors, it’s important that only trained art therapists should be consulted to treat trauma. Many who claim to be art therapists are not, in fact, licensed to do so. To find the right art therapist, look for someone who has the credentials to work with survivors of trauma. Some therapists will have the initials ATR and ATR-BC after their names. ATR means that he or she is registered with the Art Therapy Credentials Board, while ATR-BC means that the therapist has also passed a board certification examination.
Legitimate art therapists are professionals with master’s degrees in psychotherapy with additional training in art therapy. These therapists aren’t just art experts; they’re specifically trained to pick up on nonverbal cues to help people address their deeper concerns. People who have moved on from their trauma can also benefit from art therapy by using it to relieve stress and achieve emotional and creative growth.