The Power of the Arts and Mindfulness.

In a dramatic shift, experts worldwide are turning to therapeutic creative arts and mindfulness programs as a means of healing trauma and opening doors to better coping skills. Leading psychologists often note a marked improvement in patients receiving creative art therapy compared to those in more traditional therapy sessions.

CREATIVE WRITING

 

            Creative Writing utilizes the power of literature, storytelling,

          and poetry to understand one’s self, thoughts, and emotions.

       Fictional writing projects, journaling, poetry exercises, and storytelling

     help to extract harbored negative emotions, so they can be dealt with

    and redirected positively. Metaphors, allegories, and symbolism offer insight      into the mind, and also provide a sense of

  safety to express feelings that are

  typically not easy to share. Group

   projects and peer-to-peer sharing

    further enhance the healing aspect

     of literature, fostering a greater

       sense of self-esteem, social skills,

         and interpersonal relationships.

VISUAL ART 

Visual Art is a form of expression that utilizes various art mediums

including paint, chalk, clay, tiles, and beads to create and express feelings

spontaneously, and is used to treat a variety of mental health issues including childhood trauma.

There are actually two separate benefits

to Visual Art. The first involves the

creation of the actual artwork itself and

the overall healing benefit in expressing

creative energy as a means to finding

personal fulfillment, emotional reparation,

recovery, and self-discovery. The second

aspect involves the interpretation of the

artwork. Through non-verbal communication, underlying thoughts

and feelings are conveyed within the artwork, thereby allowing the students to gain insight and judgment, and perhaps a better

understanding of how they relate to the world around them. Inner exploration through the creative process has been clinically proven

time and again to help people cope better with stress, work through traumatic experiences, increase cognitive abilities, and improve relationships with family and friends.

In fact, California Youth Authority institution

showed a 60-70% decrease in violence for those who participated in a community-based

art program.

 

  ​MUSIC  

 

               Music as a means to treat trauma has been used for  

           centuries and has been proven to help young people with

         communication, attention, motivation, and behavioral problems.

       This powerful, non-threatening medium can be used to treat

     everything from PTSD and cancer, to brain injuries and substance           abuse problems. Clinical tests have shown

   music therapy to decrease aggression,

  lift depression, and improve negative

 behaviors. Through the process of

 playing and sharing music

 therapeutically, young

 people especially show

  marked improvement

   in their self-esteem,

    increased focus,

     enhanced social

       and listening skills,

         as well as improved

           academic and

             cognitive function.  

YOGA

 

Yoga can be instrumental in instilling a higher self-concept and an attitude of inner discipline. It has become widely accepted in treating a variety of ailments in adults and children, both emotional and physical, including trauma.

Through various poses and postures, focus is directed from negative thoughts and emotions to peaceful, tranquil ones — giving the student an overall sense of well-being and balance. A combination of physical movement, progressive relaxation, deep breathing, visualization, and stretching all help to rebalance the internal energy, relieve stress,

and develop coping techniques

to be applied throughout

the student’s life.

    GARDENING  

 

                   Revered for its healing value since ancient Egypt, Gardening is

               defined by the American Horticultural Therapy Association as “a process

            utilizing plants and horticultural activities to improve social, educational,

          psychological and physical adjustment of persons thus improving their body, mind,

        and spirit.”

           Young people seeking to overcome trauma have shown dramatic progress in their

     sense of self-esteem, personal capacity, and accomplishments

     after being given the role as caregiver. The tranquil

     setting of a garden has been shown in clinical

     studies to be an important therapeutic venue

      in which children and teens with deep emotional 

       wounds tend to be relieved of aggressive 

        behavior through activities such as digging 

         and planting, all the while becoming more 
           receptive to talking and working through

             their problems as anxiety and tension

                dissipate through the activities.

I really enjoyed this program. It taught me a lot, like how to make and do different things. I didn't know what to do, I never knew I was that creative. The butterfly program taught me I am. My favorite project was the portrait of myself. I didn't know I could draw like that, it was amazing!"  

                      - Ciyann  S., 16

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