Art therapy uses a person’s creativity to help develop their physical and emotional health. Self-expression can frequently awaken innate problem solving capacities. It combines traditional techniques found in psychotherapy with the creativity of producing visual art. Trauma informed art therapy takes into consideration how the mind and body respond to traumatic events, recognizing that symptoms are coping strategies rather than pathology.
Art therapists are trained professionals who have a master’s degree in art therapy. Artistic theories combined with clinical techniques are used to enhance the healing effect the creative process has on the client. The therapist is aware of the body’s reactions to stressful events and/or memories and can thus incorporate sensory based artistic activities.
People of all ages can benefit from Trauma Informed Art Therapy, particularly those experiencing such issues as anxiety, depression, addiction and trauma. This therapy approach is helpful for those who may prefer focusing on another task while discussing complex issues or who are challenged with expressing these issues verbally.
Music therapy integrates the elements of music with therapy to help provide a healing of mind, body, emotion and spirit. A trained, board certified music therapist uses the nonverbal language of music to initiate contact with the client and to help foster a relationship that can help children and adults who have experienced trauma in developing a sense of safety, strategies for stress management, creative expression, communication, social support, positive coping and resilience.
Working individually or in dyad, family or group sessions, clients work with our music therapists through individualized experiences like song discussion, improvisation, listening, instrument playing, drumming, songwriting and singing. No previous musical experience is required to participate in and benefit from music therapy. Through musical involvement in the therapeutic context, clients’ abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives.
Music therapy provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words. Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in many areas to help people who have experienced trauma, including increased relaxation, improved self-esteem, decreased anxiety, increased communication, enhanced relationships and increased group cohesiveness, and successful and safe emotional release. Because music therapy involves clients on a holistic and creative level, it can elicit responses from those who may not otherwise respond to traditional therapy.
Through a variety of activities, play therapy utilizes the therapeutic power of play to transform current life issues. It is a structured, theoretically based approach to therapy. Play is the primary tool. Language is secondary. Play therapy differs from ordinary play in that the therapist helps children address and resolve their own problems. Play therapy builds on the natural way children learn about themselves and their relationship to the world.
Sessions may be with an individual or with groups of children. A variety of therapeutic play techniques are used according to the child’s age and wishes such as sand trays, dolls, puppets, blocks, bubble blowing and more.
Through play, the child is given strategies to cope with difficulties they may be powerless to change. It can also provide the therapist with valuable insight into what the child is experiencing as many children can or will better express their needs and feelings through imagination and play.
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