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Childhood Trauma and Art Therapy

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Christine Vincent

on 28 October 2014

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Transcript of Childhood Trauma and Art Therapy

Childhood Trauma and Art Therapy
Christine Vincent
Trauma = "Something hurtful"
Trauma affects psychological and physical health for children
Cognitive Behavioral Theory
Right and Left Hemispheres of the Brain and Trauma
Art Therapy and Neural Integration
Psychoanalytic Theory
Why art therapy is beneficial for children who have experienced trauma...
At a higher risk for many health problems in adulthood.
Difference between one time and repeated trauma.
Trauma response depends on age.
Children can experience anger, inability to sleep, withdraw, intrusive thoughts, low academic performance, take part in high risk behaviors, difficulties in relationships, depression, anxiety, ptsd, behavioral disorders.
Considerable disruption of development.
Can affect brain and nervous system.
This theory can be used to describe how an event becomes traumatic.
People's cognition's play an important role in the development and continuation of emotional and behavioral responses to life circumstances.
Classical conditioning, a fear is associated with a stimuli.
Avoidance behavior.
Neutral stimuli becomes a trigger for a traumatic response.
Avoidance of the anxiety of the trauma.
"Splitting of the mind" Freud.
Absolutisms - things such as optimism, trust, object reality
People who have experienced trauma can not rely on the predictability of everyday events - isolation.
Trauma seems to exist in current time and continuously occurring.
Right side can experience more emotionally arousing states of mind, autobiographical processing, flashbacks.
Left side is about logic and using linguistics for linear processing, cause and effect to explain wrong and right.
For a linear story to be autobiographical the left must connect with the right, giving the ability to tell a coherent narrative.
Trauma can induce separation of the two hemispheres, which is seen in the incoherent narratives of people who have experienced trauma. This could be due to the impaired development of the corpus callosum.
Therapies that can strengthen neural integration help resolve trauma.
Increased activity in the right, decreased in the left during trauma.
Society generally favors the left.
Not always the best idea to trust the reliability or accuracy of verbal accounts, may create least painful story.
Words are not always able to convey the complex emotions and meanings associated with trauma.
Currently research on trauma supports imagery specific treatments as the most effective.
Since the memory of trauma is not completely a cognitive experience art therapy is a way to express and externalize traumatic memories.
Effective treatment to promote integration between the two hemispheres linking the verbal to non verbal.
The creation of art triggers the non verbal which gives the patient the ability to expose the traumatic pain and provide a base for the verbal left hemisphere to articulate the experience.
Art can reduce the dissociation between the two hemispheres and converge the sensory and cognitive experiences.
Childhood is one of the most creative periods of life, and still find happiness in creating art.
Research has shown that children who draw and talk about their experience are able to remember more details and to speak to the therapist in a more organized coherent way.
Images of hope.
Creating a safe place.
Child should not be forced to analyze art.
Open and straightforward definition.
Trauma comes in many forms.
Does not have to be dramatic to be traumatic.
Areas of the brain that process speech shut down but sensory memories are strong.
"Art makes the invisible visible" Paul Klee.
Four Stage Intervention Theory
Stage 1, "Impact - Creating continuity"
Stage 2, "Retreat-Building therapeutic alliance"
Stage 3, "Acknowledgment - Overcoming social stigma and isolation through mastery"
Stage 4, "Reconstruction - Fostering meaning"
Chapman Art Therapy Treatment Intervention
Developmentally and culturally appropriate trauma treatment.
Reduce symptoms and integrate experience into the child's overall life.
Begins with illustrative kinesthetic activity to allow for tension release and relaxation.
Followed by a series of drawings to create the story of the event, the child is allowed to verbally explain images.
The child then retells the traumatic event while addressing issues such as inaccurate perceptions, rescue, coping, etc.
Gives the child a sense of control and containment.
More Art Therapy Interventions
Scribble drawings and painting with full body movements to promote integration.
Looking for categories of drawings and identifying repeats withe the child to deepen the understanding of the traumatic experience.
Specific directive focused on safety, regulation of affects, trauma narratives, developing self-concepts and relationships.
Task oriented approach that uses images to process narrative helping alleviate disassociation as well as myths. Look at trauma through an animal perspective (startle, thwarted intention, freeze, altered state of consciousness, body sensation, state of automatic obedience, and self-repair. Child narrates each of these stages through images.
Reasons why art therapy interventions are particularly beneficial for children dealing with trauma...
Bear memories of horror that can be imagined or actual.
Reducing stress along with relaxation techniques.
Creating a safe place.
Strengthen vocabulary to join sensory memories with words.
Telling the story of the trauma.
Restore positive associations.
Externalize and redirect emotional energy with aid of a therapist.
Art Activity!
Creating a safe place.
Full transcript