Art gives us access to alternative pathways in the brain, and help generate new solutions to difficult problems.
When we become stuck, often the tools and methods that helped overcome problems in the past are no longer working. Tapping into our creative source is one of the most effective known methods to discover and implement new ways to be. This is not something you need expertise to do. As an art therapist, I am trained as both therapist and creative witness and guide. I will use art in your treatment to help draw the inherent energy and wisdom within you, so you may explore, integrate, and heal.
*All artwork images are shared here with the consent of their makers*
We now know there are many experiences that can constitute trauma beyond acute encounters with its early definition: Abuse, Childhood neglect, Mental health or substance use, Separation from a loved one, Poverty, Oppression, Racism, Discrimination, Violence, Terrorism, & War.
Trauma informed care centers the unhelpful experiences that derail us, whatever they may be. We focus first on what you have endured rather than the symptoms they effect, and channel the strengths that have kept you alive to heal and build resilience.
The principles of this model are Safety, Trustworthiness & Transparency, Peer support, Collaboration, Empowerment, and Humility& Responsiveness.
Buddhist psychologists enlarge our understanding of trauma, pointing out there is trauma in everyday life (or, as the First Noble Truth says, "life is suffering").
Exposure to illness, aging, and death in myriad forms (a medical surgery, a prolonged separation from family, or news of world suffering) can cause pain and disregulation that reflects the trauma endured. These experiences show up in the form of loneliness and fear which can surface in myriad unhelpful ways in our lives.
In some ways Buddhist psychology is a fundamentally CBT (Cognitive Behavioral) approach that allows us to practice observing, recognizing, and attuning to our feelings, sensations, thoughts, and behaviors so that we can cultivate a more tolerant awareness and compassionate relationship to the imperfect person we are.
This ability to know and accept ourselves serves to erode the friction within between who we are now and who we imagine we could be, so these changes might occur with greater ease.
We are all interconnected, and strive to live lives while tangled in hidden systems of inequity. Whether you consider yourself to be privileged or marginalized, the reality is we are all born into oppressive social structures, and this effects our ability to thrive. What can we do about this? Feminist therapy recognizes systems of power, and the harm they cause, centering transparency, empowerment, and the importance of the interpersonal as paths to freedom.
Our first experiences with connecting, needing, and being tended to by others
profoundly impacts our development and the way we relate to others later in life.
Depending on our experiences, our temperament, and that of our caregivers, we grow up to be people who express ourselves and attach to others in a variety of helpful or unhelpful ways.
There can be thoughts, feelings, behaviors and often interpersonal patterns that we have learned to ignore, avoid, or amplify in a way not aligned with who we are and what we need because of early experiences.
By understanding ourselves through our attachment style, we have the opportunity to practice and learn new ways to be that engender more of what we are seeking and need from others in order to thrive.
Existentialist therapy builds upon fundamental human paradoxes:
Somehow we are each more than the sum of our parts.
We are each alone, but need connection.
We search to find true meaning in life, but it is up to us to create it.
We strive for liberation, but truest freedom consents to responsibility.
As humans we experience the painful possibility of self-awareness and comprehension of our own mortality.
If these contradictions are central for you, the existential approach offers much.
I will look and listen closely, I will encourage brave space in our time together, and advocate for you in your experience. We will co-create change. Contact me today for a consultation.