Ptsd And Art Therapy

Decent Essays
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can result from any form of trauma a person may experience throughout their life, such as war or combat, physical or sexual assault, natural disasters, mental abuse, ect. It is also something that effects more people than commonly thought, “7.8 percent of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives”. If not treated, the symptoms of PTSD can follow an individual their entire life, this potentially includes “reliving” traumatic memories in addition to many other emotional issues. Although it may be helpful, PTSD treatment can be very difficult for an individual to participate in. In order for someone to work through a traumatic experience, it is necessary that the individual reflects on many…show more content…
Art therapy is said to use “three levels of intervention.” These levels include engaging in the clients senses through the physical manipulation of art materials, using the client’s art as a “symbolic container of their traumatic memories, and “cognitive reflection” guided by the art therapist. The therapist helps to “guide” where the client’s focus lays in terms of their traumatic memories; the goal of the therapist is to help the client integrate elements of their experience, other than the extremely negative, into their…show more content…
“Normal memories are automatically integrated into a personal narrative semantically and symbolically, without conscious awareness of the process. The nature of traumatic memories is dissociative, and they are stored without symbolic and semantic components, as visual sensory fragments, emotional attitudes, and fixed behaviors that are unchanged over time.” (35) Art therapy provides “significant treatment” for dissociative memories by incorporating new thoughts and emotions to be associated with the traumatic memory, which is expressed in the client’s artwork. “The client’s artwork presents things in a manner that is tangible, concrete with boundaries, giving the client a sense of order, a kind of completeness, a sense that sees the symptoms they experience as a result of their trauma as a whole, protected unit within the medium of art.” (35) Tan & Atira's (2012) article reported the findings of an experiment testing the effectiveness of using art therapy as a tool in treating women sex-trafficking survivors. Before the art therapy workshop, the women who were the participants of the study were described to be “shrouded in guilt”, a common symptom of PTSD. Because of these feelings of guilt and shame the women found it difficult to vocally express what they had gone through, and the
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