Art therapy and sexual abuse
Art therapy is a style of psychotherapy, using dance, the arts and media to help treat patients. It is not about talent or skill, it is a way to express feelings.
Art therapy is used to treat adults and minors, and can help with disabilities, mental illness or traumatic memories. It can involve a range of techniques and methods that are decided by the therapist and patient, depending on what they believe will be the most successful treatment.
Sexual abuse affects a staggering number of the population, so finding a technique to help survivors is key.
In any case of sexual abuse, therapists can help the patient recover and find the best method for their recovery. The aftermath of the trauma can result in behavioral disorders, depression and PTSD. Art therapy is a way for the patient to share these feelings, either by putting paint on a canvas, through pottery or dance, without having discussions that many find difficult.
This method of therapy is relatively new, but is proving effective for helping patients get past the trauma. It can be extremely effective in children, as they often find it difficult to discuss the experience. Children can feel conflicted talking to an adult, the loss of trust is understandable, so a creative method for them to share their feelings is a great way to give them a voice in a world they knew to be devastating.
Art is a way for us to relieve anger, sadness, love and every other emotion without the stress and pressure of talking about it directly. Being able to put this emotion into a painting or clay sculpture is the first step in recovery. Children’s imaginations are natural and expressive; putting this into a piece of art, whatever style, is an effective way for them to develop their sense of self and their ability to express what they are feeling.
This method of therapy can be used for a range of issues and ages. For children, this can help them develop their coping skills and strengthen their faith in who they are.