Art therapy is a form of therapy that encourages creativity and self expression. It is also used for PTSD
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) involves a pattern of symptoms that individuals develop after experiencing a traumatic event such as sexual assault. Symptoms of PTSD include repeated thoughts of the assault, memories and nightmares, avoidance of thoughts, feelings and situations related to the assault, difficulty in sleeping and concentrating, jumpiness, irritability.
One important aspect of Art therapy is the creation of a safe space where these traumatic feelings can be processed. Sometimes the verbal skills is lacking to describe traumatic experiences and by creating art the person can feel more confident.
Art Therapy changes lives of abused children. Art therapy program heals hearts and empowers young survivors. Child abuse is widely recognized as a serious problem not only because it results in long term trauma reactions but also because it involves an abuse of power by adults over children in their care.
Violence and assault in children results in attachment, mood and behavioral discomfort as well as acute posttraumatic stress disorder among other problems.
Art and Abolition is one organization in Kenya that uses art to restore lives of abused children.
Brittanie Richardson founder and director of the organization affirms the importance of therapy with children who have been abused, saying that art offers something else to ‘do’ besides talking. Children may resist a verbal approach to therapy reason being they may not have the language skills to tell what happened to them. Older children may distrust verbal communication because their abuser probably lied to them or threatened them.
One of The Art and Abolition therapist
Art and Abolition children performing a dance during the 16 days of activism launch at Panafric Hotel.
says the greater value of art therapy with children who have been abused is that it provides an opportunity to give voice to the pain. The images they create provide tangible proof of progress that has been made and this can be especially helpful on days when children feel discouraged about their progress. Visual art seems to come readily to many children who have been abused.
Brittanie who is a survivor of child abuse is forever grateful to art therapy. She says that art saved her life. Her passion can be seen in her vigor and vitality.