Post-traumatic stress disorder can be challenging to treat because simply discussing the original traumatic event is such a horrific experience for the trauma victim. Because direct analytical approaches to therapy can be too overwhelming for some with PTSD, alternative methods are extremely helpful.
Traumatic experiences are stored in the brain in such a visceral way that words are often inadequate to describe them accurately. Imagery can safely access memories of traumatic experiences, as well as helping trauma victims work on understanding their triggers and changing their reactions to them.
Art therapy, used as a means of exploring the self, can help trauma victims work through what has happened to them in a way that does not trigger panic in the brain because it is abstract. The practice of art-making can be extremely therapeutic in and of itself, allowing the mind to relax as it focuses in on hand-eye coordination. Art therapy groups can act as a safe space where PTSD victims find a sense of calm and comfort – a feeling that can be rare for those dealing with trauma.
Art therapy’s success as a supplement to tradition PTSD treatment
bodes well for other alternative therapies. The brain is incredibly complex – why confine treatment to conventional therapy?