Art Therapy is one of the most effective modalities for people working through their trauma because traumatic memory is different than an every day memory. The traumatic experience is stored in our body and we do not have the words to describe the trauma that lives inside of us. This memory can take on the form of a flashback, which reminds of us the fear but does not tell the whole story. Because the memory is not integrated into your conscious or verbal experience of yourself, you have no control over your reactions.
I use a method of therapy that combines a body mind approach with art making as well as verbal processing to help heal from their traumatic past experiences.
Art is so useful because you don’t need language to tap into it. Instead you can go straight to the memory and express the memory with the symbolic language of art. It’s stored in your body and your unconscious in a way that doesn’t always have words.
The art helps you access the memory so you can begin to visually express your trauma narrative. By using art you are finally able to put words to your story and regain some sense of control over the experience.
Trauma comes as a shock to the body because it renders you powerless. As you’re mastering the materials to express something you’re gaining a mastery of your actual experience. Creating your piece gives you a sense of control. Working with your therapist connects you and helps you heal.
Art is a safe way to do this because it’s contained (literally on space on a piece of paper). Art is an expression of your trauma but it is also a piece of art, an object that you have created. You can put it away in a folder or keep it in a sketchbook.
Art in itself can be used to express the anxiety and soothe the anxiety that’s coming up as a result of the resurfacing of the stored memory. Read more about art therapy and anxiety here.
For adults Art Therapy helps you tap into this emotional material safely and directly. For children who have experienced trauma it is imperative that you engage the child with a creative modality, as they often do not have the words to express their feelings. Art Therapy can also be used to process pre-verbal trauma.
Jennifer’s clear sense of personal and professional boundaries with her keen sense of humor has enabled her to work effectively within an inpatient psychiatric hospital, a school setting, to effectively run an intensive out of school program for teenagers in transitional housing and finally to work within a busy outpatient mental health outpatient clinic with administrative responsibilities.
I would highly recommend Jennifer Byxbee’s services to anyone who wants to improve their life and get to know their self on a deeper level.
Jennifer is a responsible and caring clinician who continuously shows integrity, excellent judgment, and acts solely in the best interest of her clients. Ms. Byxbee continuously looks for opportunities to learn and grow in the field and holds all of the characteristics that a Licensed Registered Art Therapist should exemplify.