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How you can heal trauma through art

Before you complete this thought, “I am not an artistic person”, I implore you to hear me out. Creating art is not limited to the obviously talented among us. Sure, some people are good at channeling their artistic sides like the musicians, authors, painters, and actors we know about but all of us are capable of creating art as long as we are human beings.

“Practice any art no matter how well or badly, not to get money or fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.” - Kurt Vonnegut

Art can be described simply as a form of creative expression that conveys thoughts, emotions, or ideas through various mediums such as painting, sculpture, music, dance, literature, and more. It is a way for people to communicate and explore the world around them, often reflecting their unique perspectives, experiences, and imagination.

healing trauma through art class

Art can also be like a comforting friend that helps us navigate our emotions, experiences, and difficult moments in life. It can be a powerful tool for healing our trauma. Here are a few ways you can use art to find solace and heal;

  • Self-expression: Engaging in various art forms such as painting, drawing, writing, poetry, music, or dance allows you to express your thoughts, emotions, and experiences creatively. This can provide a release and help you connect with your inner self.

  • Reclaiming narratives: Art can be a way to reclaim your narrative and challenge dominant (and often negative) narratives that the world perpetuates about you or your identity. It allows you to tell your story on your terms and create a counter-narrative that resonates with your truth.

  • Empowerment and agency: Art allows you to use your voice, reflect on your identity, and assert your presence in a world that may have marginalized or silenced you.

  • Community and connection: Participating in art workshops, joining creative groups, or collaborating with other artists can foster a sense of belonging and provide a supportive space for healing and sharing experiences.

  • Processing trauma: By transforming your pain into visual or auditory forms, you can process difficult emotions or experiences and gain a new perspective, facilitating the healing process.

  • Mindfulness and self-care: Engaging in art can help you focus on the present moment, cultivate a sense of calm, and provide a respite from the demands of daily life.

healing trauma through art graffiti

Healing through art is a deeply personal and subjective process. Our creative processes may not all look the same. Here are some general steps and approaches that may help you on your artistic journey:

  • Create a safe space: Set up a physical or mental space where you feel comfortable and free to express yourself without judgment or limitations. This could be a dedicated art studio, a quiet corner in your home, or even a virtual space online.

  • Choose your preferred art form: Explore different art forms such as painting, drawing, writing, sculpture, music, dance, or any medium that resonates with you. Experiment with different techniques and materials to find what feels most authentic and enjoyable for you.

  • Embrace the process: Focus on the act of creating rather than solely on the result. Give yourself permission to explore, experiment, and make mistakes. Allow the art-making process to be a journey of self-discovery and growth. The aim is not perfection but enjoyment and exploration.

  • Express emotions and experiences: Use art as a means to express and release emotions related to your trauma. Explore different themes, symbols, colors, or movements that reflect your inner experiences. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and let art become a vehicle for self-expression.

  • Reflect and contemplate: Observe your creations, pay attention to the emotions they evoke, and reflect on the meaning and significance behind them. This self-reflection can deepen your understanding of your own experiences and promote healing.

  • Seek support and guidance: Consider working with a therapist, counselor, or art therapist who specializes in trauma healing. They can provide professional guidance and create a safe space for you to explore your trauma through art. They may offer specific techniques or exercises tailored to your needs.

  • Engage with the art community: Connect with other artists, join art workshops, or participate in group exhibitions that focus on healing and trauma. Sharing your artwork with others who have similar experiences can foster a sense of community and validation.

  • Practice self-care: Engaging in art can be emotionally intense, so remember to practice self-care. Take breaks when needed, engage in activities that bring you joy, and prioritize your mental and emotional well-being throughout the healing process.

Remember, healing is a non-linear journey, and there is no right or wrong way to approach it. Allow yourself the time and space you need, be patient and compassionate with yourself, and trust in your creative process. The joys of artistic expression are available to you if you just allow yourself to explore your creative side. You don’t have to be the best at what you do, you just have to be yourself and see what you come up with.

Starting therapy can help you channel your creativity. Contact us today and we'll discuss your needs as well as answer any questions you might have about cost, length of treatment, and coordinating services.

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