Art therapy and talk therapy are powerful combo for trauma and anxiety
We've known for years that specific trauma therapies help people get better faster. We're also learning that combining this with art therapy and similar expressive therapies helps people feel more satisfied and happier about therapy.
In a recent study, “Subjects who received art therapy were more satisfied with their experience of CPT (trauma therapy) when they received both treatments (of art and talk therapy). Most reported that they would like to continue,” says a VA psychiatrist and researcher. You can read the full article by clicking here.
Combining art and trauma therapy
Jennie often combines art, play and traditional trauma therapies. "I have seen how much clients enjoy and heal through art as well as through traditional talk therapy," she says. "I can't imagine a more powerful combination."
In the past, people may have attended therapy for a year or more, and would gradually get better over time. When the therapy is more concentrated and focused on trauma itself, it brings big benefits, and significant decreases in depression and anxiety happen fairly quickly. Many people are largely symptom-free by the end of three months of sessions.
Start with an art therapy journal
One thing that helps us avoid longterm issues, or to get better after developing them, is to find a way to express and work through our thoughts, feelings and beliefs. For some this may be talking to a friend, processing while we exercise, or writing. For some, it's making art.
A growing practice in the creative healing world is to keep what's called an art journal. It's a combination of a sketchbook or scrapbook and a written journal, and it's just for you (typically these aren't meant to include beautiful works of art to display, although that may happen naturally).
There's no right or wrong to art journaling, and it's not a project for your inner critic to worry about - you can throw it away when you're done if you like!
How do you think you might express best? Start with a list of what you already do, followed by one or two things to try. E-mail Jennie or post to Facebook with ideas or to let us know how it worked!