Using Art Therapy to Overcome Trauma

Using Art Therapy to Overcome TraumaTrauma is an experience that can cause individuals to feel trapped or stuck. The effects of trauma can lead to PTSD and debilitating symptoms such as reliving or re-experiencing the event, avoidance symptoms, emotional numbness or detachment and more. Breaking free and overcoming trauma or a traumatic event can be difficult, seemingly impossible for some, and the worst part is that many individuals will suffer with the effects of trauma unknowingly. Thinking that depression, social problems, and avoidance symptoms are just their “character flaws” or abnormal personality.

There are so many treatment and recovery services available to help victims overcome trauma. Art therapy is one form of treatment that has proven to be especially effective with trauma recovery, especially in children. Whether used alone, or with other methods of treatment, art therapy can help individuals break the silence and stagnancy that often results after trauma.

How Does Art Therapy Work for Trauma Victims?

One reason art therapy is so well-suited for trauma victims is that it does not require the individual to speak to another person or complete stranger. Verbal communication is a giant part of most traditional or psychotherapies, but for trauma victims who lack trust and attempt to avoid things that remind them of the trauma, talking is not usually an option. There are serious walls built around the trauma victim to protect themselves, and breaking through these walls takes a great deal of time and built-trust.

Art therapy allows trauma victims to express their trauma-related feelings and thoughts without having to talk. The trauma victim can open-up at a rate that is comfortable to them. Putting work in to some sort of art, can serve as the communication between therapist and patient.

The human brain has the ability to channel undesirable thoughts into the unconscious; if we want to repress or forget about a certain event, the brain literally works hard to deplete this knowledge sending it to the unconscious state. But by putting traumatic memories aside, individuals can suffer physical, psychological, and emotional problems until the issues are addressed and overcome. Art therapy and creative expression can active the right-brain, which is where memories are stored. This can unleash the memories that may be holding a trauma victim back.

Supporters of art and expressive or creative therapies for trauma recovery provide five basic components for the effectiveness of this trauma recovery method. First is the neurosequential approach: therapy stabilizes the body’s responses. Second, it helps identify coping strategies to stress and memories through sensory-based activities. Third, it practices and teaches self-regulation through somatic and sensory approaches. Fourth, it provides security though re-establishing a connection with positive attachment and self-soothing. Last, it works to build strength, confidence, and self-assurance by enhancing resiliency.

Learn More about Art Therapy and Other Options for Trauma Recovery

To learn more about art and creative therapy or other options for trauma recovery, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our recovery professionals are on-hand 24/7, in order to assist you with all your needs whenever you are ready to reach out for help. There are so many helpful recovery resources available for trauma victims, but finding them or finding the “right” options isn’t always easy. Speaking with a recovery professional will provide you with answers to your questions and concerns, as well as more information than you will ever need on the issues. We also have connections to treatment and recovery services across the nation, and can help connect you to the services and programs that are right for you.