Art Therapy : How Trauma Became A Driver for My Creativity

“Whatever doesn’t kill you, is gonna leave a scar” – Marilyn Manson

These words are incredibly relatable, because, they ring so pure and true. We don’t get out of life alive, therefore anything that happens in the interim that impacts us negatively leaves a mark that turns into a scar. Difficult to remove, but not impossible to hide. Yes, you can definitely heal from trauma but just like a scar it leaves a mark on our psyche that is very difficult to totally erase. You will have certain reminders that stay with you and shape you into the human you are today. There will be knee jerk reactions to people/places/things that are old outdated tools we used to use to protect ourselves. However, now that the trauma has passed, those survival mode instincts that got embedded into our thought patterns no longer serve us. In fact, they end up hurting us in the long term as we not longer need to react to every situation as though it has the potential to hurt us.

It’s impossible to totally erase your trauma in present day. Trust me, I’ve tried! Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you a story. However, the most important lesson I have learned are the new coping techniques to change how I respond to new situations when I’m reminded about my scars. Update the system drivers and restart your computer for improved functionality in this new world upon us.

One method I have found incredibly useful in helping me heal my scars is Accelerated Resolution Therapy also know by the acronym A.R.T. Not to be confused with standard Art Therapy practices. This deep dive into the human psyche has helped me immensely in making the feelings associated with past traumatic events not cut quiet so deep in my present moment. The best way I can describe my A.R.T therapy sessions to you is that it helps remove the weight that trauma can put on you that holds you down/back from pushing through/leaving the pain behind you. Events are not erased, you know that they occurred, but you don’t feel so stuck living in the consequential feeling(s) around these events. It’s a real weight that gets lifted from your psyche if you are committed to the guidance from your psychologist. I feel markedly better after each 90 minute A.R.T therapy session and it allows me to not feel the sting/pains associated with recalling past events nearly as much as before. If you’ve tried seemingly everything and nothing has worked for you yet to heal, I highly suggest trying A.R.T before you give up on counselling all together.

Note: A.R.T (therapy is general) is very expensive, it’s 300+ per session in Alberta where I currently live. This really concerns me as I know for a long time in my life I could not afford therapy as much as I wanted it and there are many more people in that same position today. During those harder times I was able to reach out to local counselors when I was at the poverty line for support free of charge through local community organizations. They are not easy to find but they are out there in most major cities if you search hard enough. For anyone having a tough time on a tight budget look for psychologists/counselors who offers a “sliding scale” rate to make it more accessible to you based on your income level.

I recently shared this video about what my pillars of trauma where in life as well as how those pillars now stand for my strengths.

Stay tuned for more episodes that will be uploaded throughout the remainder of Winter – Spring of 2023 in the “What is a Woman…?” docuseries.

View the full abstract art exhibition “What is a Woman…?” here

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