Word therapies only go so far in healing traumatic events. Victims of sexual child abuse, PTSD, and other traumatic events have found healing through art making. The Healing Art Process is very effective in allowing the victim of trauma to release their pain in a safe and unconscious manner.
It is not necessary to know or talk about what is being healed. Art has the power to help emotional and physiological reactions without words. The process of making art is itself a tool for healing. Imagery is a language of the body and the mind working in concert. By making art around our personal language we are able to deal with emotions that are not always acceptable in society but that we all feel – anger, fear, anxiety.
Traumatic experiences cut us off from the emotions that are attached to the trauma and our recovery is hampered by this emotional blockage. Art making allows us to reconnect to those emotions and heal them. Art making enhances self-acceptance, and our personal and spiritual connections.
Everyone is an artist and can heal with the creative process. This process gets us out of our heads and lets us ignore all the negative things we tell ourselves. It is a way of seeing ourselves clearly and illuminating the beauty within us and those around us. As we put our personal language on paper, we learn about ourselves and ignite a positive emotional transformation.
Self-understanding, personal insights, higher states of consciousness, and personal growth can all occur during the expressive art process. Our emotions are an energy source. Revealing them through the creative process, energizes us in a positive way.
As a childhood sexual abuse survivor, I have personally experienced the healing power of art making. It has allowed me to touch on many frightening, repressed emotions that I could not voice any other way. Verbalizing abuse is incredibly difficult and words don't always express what I want to say. Through the creation of imagery I have been able to touch these emotions and express them in a visual manner that I can share with others.
Ultimately this process brings people together and leads to more healing. I have tiles decorating the front of my house with childish drawings that I did as an adult. On two separate occasions someone has stopped to ask about them. When I explained my experiences that inspired the tiles, they both began to cry and shared that they were abuse victims. I am constantly amazed at the magical way art can create a safe place for healing and sharing.
Linda G. Litteral