The Art of Healing: How Creative Therapies Transform Trauma Recovery

The Art of Healing: How Creative Therapies Transform Trauma Recovery

When people have gone through a traumatic experience, talking about it can be extremely difficult. Many people may feel that talking about the experience is like reliving it, which they don’t want to do. This is why art therapy is often used. By creating a piece of art, they can express their thoughts and feelings, which can help them better process what has happened. We will explore how art therapy is used in trauma recovery and the benefits of implementing it as part of the healing process.

What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy aims to help people deal with emotional issues and trauma by using a creative outlet [1]. It has its roots in the idea that healing and mental well-being can be helped by creative expression [2]. Art therapy can include drawing, painting, dance, or music. It combines creative expression with talk therapy to produce results.

People do not have to have artistic talent to take part in art therapy. The goal is not to have beautiful art pieces but to find a way to express yourself and your emotions.

While it can be helpful, it’s important to note that creating art outside of an art therapy session is not considered therapy without the guidance of a licensed and trained art therapist.

How Art Therapy is Used in Trauma Recovery

Art therapy unlocks and expresses memories and feelings that can help process trauma, depression, and other mental health conditions. For many people, art allows them to express emotions that they may not be able to communicate verbally. Since trauma is a nonverbal experience, a nonverbal approach, such as creating art, can be helpful. Instead of using words, the creative process of making a piece of art can help traumatized patients heal. Art therapy can also help people look at their situation from another viewpoint, which can help them better process what has happened.

Art therapists guide patients by using the creative process and works of art to explore their emotions, past experiences, traumas, and behaviors. While every session may differ, patients are usually invited to choose a medium they prefer, whether painting, colored pencils, or something else. As they create art, their nervous system relaxes, which can help them open up and talk about their experiences and trauma [1].

An art therapist will ask what the driving force behind the piece of art is to understand what is going on in the patient’s mind. This can help many patients feel safer and more willing to share their experiences.

Benefits of Art Therapy in Trauma Recovery

Art therapy stirs creative expression, which can improve mindfulness and reduce the pain and stress that trauma has caused. There are also several other benefits of using art therapy in trauma recovery, including [1]:

  • Improved self-esteem and self-awareness
  • Enhanced social skills
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Fewer conflicts
  • Emotional resilience

For people dealing with PTSD and other types of trauma, art therapy allows them to express themselves safely. It will enable them to express their emotions and thoughts in words when they cannot do so [3].

As people try to recover from PTSD and other trauma, they need to feel safe within their bodies. They must become aware of their sensations and how their bodies interact with the world around them. Art therapy helps because people learn to create artwork outside themselves [3].

How Art Helps You Process Your Trauma

Through the process, they can relearn that their bodies are once again a safe place. Many who have been physically or sexually abused may have blocked their bodily sensations. Through art therapy, people can regain their feelings and learn to feel safe again.

Art therapy can be empowering because it allows the people suffering from the trauma to be in the driver’s seat and choose what they create. They can release aspects of their trauma at their own pace. This can prevent them from being flooded with emotions. It can also help trauma patients regain some of the power they may feel like their experience stole from them.

As the images are created through art therapy sessions, a therapist can further help by asking each person to describe their trauma. By adding context to the artwork, people can better process their traumatic memory and tell their brains that the trauma is no longer happening, which can aid in trauma recovery. This can help to reduce trauma symptoms as people go through the healing process.

Patients undergoing art therapy can also improve their social relationships as they begin to open up about their trauma. Trauma can be isolating, leaving many people to shut people out and making it difficult to have relationships. People learn how to engage with others and build relationships through creative therapies.

Contact Healing Foundations Center for Trauma Therapy

If you or a loved one has experienced a traumatic experience, let the team at Healing Foundations Center help. We offer a variety of treatments and therapies to provide the healing power you need to work through your trauma and lead a productive life. We can show you how creative therapies can be used in trauma recovery. Call us today to learn more about the various treatments we offer so that you can begin healing from your traumatic experience.