PTSD can be crippling. People who have experienced extreme trauma can sometimes still be dealin with the after-effects years later. Sadly, some people never fully get over a traumatic event. Instead they live with things like anxiety, phobias and insomnia for decades.
Fortunately, there are several way that people with PTSD can get help and potentially overcome the lasting effects of their trauma. One particularly effective tool for overcoming PTSD appears to be art therapy.
Does art therapy work for trauma and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? Does coloring help with PTSD? In this article, we’ll examine the science behind art therapy and explain why coloring can be helpful in combating trauma. The research behind ART is robust, but there is still room for further research. In the meantime, this article aims to answer the most important questions about art therapy for PTSD. Listed below are some of the key points of this article. We hope you find it useful!
What is art therapy?
ART focuses on healing the emotional and physical reactions associated with traumatic events. The client engages in visual eye movements to call up the memory. These eye movements are silent and can last anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. During each movement, the ART therapist checks in on the client. During this time, the client may be able to make visual changes and other changes. As a result, the client may be able to process the traumatic event and find relief.
ART is a new and groundbreaking type of psychotherapy that addresses PTSD and other mental health conditions. It was created by Laney Rosenzweig in 2008. She was intrigued by a recent study on how trauma can be processed through art, and discovered that small changes could have a powerful impact. Rosenzweig’s research led her to combine several proven techniques to create ART, and it has been approved by the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices.
While art therapy can be an extremely helpful treatment, it may not be suitable for everyone. Those who are uncomfortable talking about their trauma may find it difficult to do so. Because art therapy focuses on the creative process, it is ideal for people who are unable to discuss their traumatic experiences verbally. Furthermore, people with PTSD may not be able to express their pain verbally, which can be difficult. But the process of processing trauma with art can still be highly effective, and the healing process can continue.
Does art help with trauma?
Does art therapy help with trauma? Art is an activity that uses the right brain, and so people who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder can utilize this process to heal from their experience. Art activities provide an outlet for complex feelings that are impossible to express in words. The American Art Therapy Association offers therapist-facilitated treatments using a variety of artistic mediums and creative processes. This type of therapy uses images, drawings, and other forms of artistic expression to help people process traumatic events.
Art therapy may be helpful for people who have trouble talking about their trauma, or who feel hypervigilant or panicked and unable to express their emotions. Because trauma can affect the speech center of the brain, it can be difficult for people to express their feelings effectively. With art, they can safely express their feelings and get answers without the risk of offending others. But the benefits of art therapy extend well beyond the benefits of art.
The most important element of trauma recovery is reclaiming the safety of the body. Many people suffering from PTSD feel disconnected from their bodies, which is why they may have developed a dissociative disorder. This makes it vital for them to establish a new relationship with their bodies and learn to relate to them. This is where art therapy shines. By allowing clients to manipulate artwork outside their body, art therapy helps them access the stories of their trauma safely. This allows them to relearn that they are safe.
How does art trauma therapy work?
ART involves focusing on healing emotional and physical reactions to traumatic events. In one to three sessions, ART helps clients find relief from their traumas. During the session, ART therapists check in with the client and may use metaphors or gestalt techniques to encourage positive sensation. During the session, clients experience visual eye movement and call up their memory. They can hold this eye movement for up to 30 seconds, depending on the amount of time the therapist needs to engage the client’s body.
The therapists encourage participants to explore their memories of traumatic events. They guide the client’s triggered response by using CBT techniques to reduce the physiological distress associated with the memories. During the interactive portion of ART, they encourage participants to develop solutions to their traumas and shift their memory to positive imagery. Through this process, clients experience relief from their emotional pain and move closer to achieving emotional balance. After art therapy, clients often feel more relaxed and at ease with themselves.
ART focuses on helping clients imagine traumatic events and their effects without having to verbalize details. Many people with PTSD replay their traumatic events in their minds on a regular basis. ART therapists encourage clients to co-create the goals of their sessions, allowing them to focus on healing rather than reliving them. During this process, the healing process can continue. This is the ideal way to treat trauma and begin a journey toward self-acceptance.
Does coloring help with trauma?
Does coloring help with trauma? Coloring helps combat the negative emotions that result from traumatic experiences. This therapeutic technique has proven effective under several circumstances. People who undergo cancer treatment have reported relief from anxiety, fear, and stress with art therapy. This activity has become so popular that chapters are even starting to form in cities. It’s a wonderful way to relieve stress and cope with difficult circumstances. There are many benefits of coloring for those suffering from PTSD.
During a traumatic event, coloring can soothe the lower part of the brain, which is responsible for triggering and inhibiting higher cognitive functions. This soothing effect can help trauma victims focus their thoughts on completing their coloring page. Furthermore, coloring allows them to slow down and flex their creativity, which can enhance their overall health and well-being. When trauma has taken a toll on the person’s mental state, coloring can help them refocus.
In a study published in the Journal of Art Therapy, therapists found that people who color often experience reduced levels of stress and anxiety. Adults who color frequently report reduced levels of depression and anxiety, and increased levels of mental clarity and happiness. Despite these benefits, some art therapists recommend coloring for those who have suffered traumatic experiences. These experts also note that adults who color may be using it as part of a larger plan to deal with uncomfortable feelings.
Is EMDR effective in treating PTSD?
Although the exact mechanism behind EMDR is unknown, it is thought to reduce the intensity of traumatic memories and unwanted thoughts. EMDR works by bypassing the area of the brain that processes memories. Through bilateral stimulation, patients can access their traumatic memories in a specific way. By reprocessing these memories, people can repair the mental injury caused by trauma. Typically, EMDR treatment sessions last an hour.
In the desensitization phase, the healthcare provider helps a person identify specific memories and themes that may have contributed to the trauma. This process helps a person identify positive and negative beliefs related to the trauma. It also helps them identify negative images, feelings, and body sensations associated with traumatic experiences. These thoughts and images may be triggered by new thoughts and emotions. The healthcare provider helps the patient notice these thoughts and feelings, and works to change them in the mind.
A review of published studies has concluded that EMDR therapy is effective for reducing PTSD symptoms. Multiple reputable organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and the World Health Organization, have designated EMDR as an evidence-based treatment for PTSD. It is also effective for people of all backgrounds and ethnic groups. Moreover, it has been proven to reduce the symptoms of PTSD by about 90%.
How does art therapy work in the brain?
While traditional psychotherapy requires participants to discuss the event, ART uses visualization techniques to process traumatic memories. The creative process helps clients to recover these memories and gain insight into the healing process. Additionally, many people with PTSD replay traumatic events in their minds on a regular basis. Because art involves the use of sensory modalities, the process can activate affected brain areas, which can create pathways between declarative and nonverbal memories.
Among other benefits of art therapy, this approach helps improve cognitive functioning and reduce symptoms of neurological and psychiatric disorders, including PTSD. While creating art, individuals engage a variety of brain areas, including the prefrontal cortex, which controls executive functions. Additionally, regular art making stimulates the release of dopamine, which plays a role in mood and motivation. The results of these studies are promising and continue to be studied.
Art has long been associated with PTSD, although it is not always used as a form of therapeutic expression. Historically, people have used art as a way to release difficult emotions, such as fear, anger, or other negative feelings. In fact, some of the world’s most famous works of art were created by individuals with traumatic backgrounds. By using art as a means of expressing feelings, art therapy can help people heal.
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Brian Johnson is current Editor of Vagarights.com and a long-time writer for VAGA. A former psychologist, Brian is passionate about improving mental health and finding ways to stave off cognitive decline. He is an expert on nootropics, cognitive enhancement and biohacking more broadly. You can see his work on Google scholar.
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