Working through Trauma

art_therapy_masksTrauma impacts our lives in a multitude of ways. Whether the trauma is relational in nature (i.e. unavailable or neglectful parents, sexual or physical abuse, inconsistent parenting) or a more concrete event (i.e. a car accident, surviving a natural disaster) the experience often gets encoded in the body in feelings, images and sensations.

Traumatic memories are experienced as happening in the present, as they are without a historical context and have not been properly placed in the past. When a traumatic memory is triggered it may feel as if it is happening “now,” creating disruptions and a negative impact on your life. Difficulty sleeping, nightmares, hyperarousal, dissociation (feeling spacy or “not there,”) attachment and relationship issues, and intrusive memories are several of the possible symptoms that might be encountered.

Trauma and Art Therapy

Art therapy can provide a way to bridge the sensory memories with a narrative, helping you to integrate traumatic experience into your overall being. Creating artwork will allow you to generate images and symbols for an experience that cannot be articulated. It is a way to safely express—both literally and metaphorically—difficult and deeply embedded feelings. Through art therapy alone, or in combination with other types of therapy, a more integrated sense of self and inner peace can be achieved.

Useful Resources for Trauma

National Center for PTSD »

Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence–from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror, By Judith Herman

Healing Trauma: A Pioneering Program for Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body, By Peter Levine

Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma: The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences, By Peter Levine

The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse, By Wendy Maltz

Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy, By Pat Ogden

The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment, By Babette Rothschild

For more information, or to set up a session, please contact me.

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