Emerald Sketch, follow the remedy road.
On behalf of the Emerald Sketch, a private creative arts therapy practice anchored in Sandy Hook and Newtown, Connecticut, a brief vignette is written to provide insight on what to expect when enrolling in art therapy with the Emerald Sketch.
Now, as an additional devastating event has occurred in New England, our presence goes out to all those affected from the recent horror in Boston. The Emerald Sketch is open for outreach to establish a sustainable mode of communication between Creative Arts Therapists with trauma training nationally. The intention is to enable faster mental health response systems and higher rates of community recovery in response to large-scale social traumas.
The Emerald Sketch exists to employ empirical based art therapy techniques to uplift, enrich, and remedy the individual children, teachers, faculty, first-responders, clergy, families, community members, and clinicians who express a need for care currently in Sandy Hook and Newtown, Connecticut.
Brief description of art therapy:
“Art therapy is a mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem. A goal in art therapy is to improve or restore a client’s functioning and his or her sense of personal well-being.” American Art Therapy Association, 2013
Working with an art therapist allows you to express emotion through non-verbal communication. We are trained to use all types of materials and techniques. A background in, or any experience making art, is not necessary.
Most importantly for both children and adults, art therapy provides a framework for recognizing needs, feelings, behaviors, and concerns, and then transforming them — at one’s own personal pace.
Adults and children of all ages and backgrounds can benefit from art therapy. We can create groups based on the needs of the community, and also provide individual art therapy as needed.
Art therapy is especially helpful for the following:
· difficulty with verbal communication
· symptoms of trauma (possibilities, yet not limited to: persistent nightmares, sleepless nights, bed-wetting, difficulty with transitions/attachment concerns, increased anxiety or nervousness, anger, overwhelming sadness)
· coping with grief
· anyone interested in a non-verbal method of processing the event will benefit
What occurs during art therapy sessions?
Typically children’s groups differ from adults.
An art task is provided at the beginning of the session and the group is encouraged for approximately half of the session to create artwork on the given topic. The second portion of the session is dedicated to viewing the artwork and applying what is seen to your lives. At times you may be encouraged to revisit your artwork to transform how you perceive your artwork, thus aiding the process of changing how you feel, think, and behave.
Adults often report that the process of making “art as therapy” is healing in and of itself.
The children’s groups are given consistent material options for new art tasks each week.
Art therapy is especially helpful for all ages to overcome the symptoms of trauma and/or grief.
Using whatever medium feels best for the individual (drawing, painting, sculpting, etc.), one creates a non-verbal storyline of their own experience. While this may appear to be the last thing one may want to engage in, the healing qualities of the narrative process with an art therapist are countless.
One mother experienced heightened symptoms of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, including an inability to stay in the moment with her three-year old. In the session following her process of the traumatic experience she asked and stated, “Do you do that for everyone? I completely feel like myself again.”
What can be gained through treatment (short-term/long-term goals)?
· A greater understanding of what you or your family members are experiencing
· Vicarious growth
· Increased skills to cope and alleviate upset emotions as they occur
· Return to your own sense of yourself