Many people who survive trauma conceal how it has warped their lives, but many of them deal with resulting problems, like depression, anxiety, mental disturbances and suicidal tendencies. While people who endure trauma cannot change what has happened to them or how it has affected them, they can learn to respond to their feelings in such a way that helps them overcome any resulting problem.
One of the best ways to confront trauma is through creativity, especially art therapy, as it allows patients to express themselves and confront troubling issues in safe environments. In other words, art therapy helps people overcome trauma.
What Is Art Therapy?
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that allows patients to express themselves through creative mediums such as painting, drawing, modeling or collage. What patients reveal about themselves through art teaches them to communicate about their trauma with more confidence, which allows therapists to determine their treatment needs.
One of the major advantages of art therapy is how it improves a patient’s mental wellbeing, because patients can express painful thoughts and memories, even thoughts they have repressed.
How Art Therapy Helps Patient Process Trauma
Many people who survive trauma cannot discuss what they endured, even in a comfortable environment with loved ones or therapists. However, art gives them a safe way to reveal the traumatic events they survived, which invites people to ask questions. This all occurs without words, so patients give information at their own pace and does not feel provoked to share anything they are not ready to share. For some people, art expresses how they feel about a situation better than words ever could. It can help people who are not only visually oriented, but also people who fear the repercussions of vocalizing their thoughts.
Art therapy unlocks repressed thoughts and emotions. Patients may not be aware of what they reveal in their artwork, but it can provide a map for therapists to ask questions or understand what is going on beneath a patient’s surface. Art therapy has proven effective for all ages and is often associated with children who survive trauma, particularly because most people do not fully develop verbal skills until adolescence. This means that recovery is possible through creative mediums, such as art therapy.
Trauma and substance abuse commonly go hand-in-hand. When as a result of trauma someone suffers from addiction and a psychological disorder, like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), then she has co-occurring disorders.