Expressive Therapies for Trauma Recovery

HEAL’s expressive therapy service includes Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Play Therapy, somatic therapies and more.

All our therapists are qualified, having completed a Masters of Mental Health, and undergo ongoing professional development.

As noted by ANZACATA (Australia, New Zealand and Asia Creative Arts Therapists Association):

“…Contemporary neurobiological research into trauma suggests that trauma has a powerful physical component and thus the first step in addressing trauma should attend to embodied trauma responses.

Because the creative arts therapies are based on body awareness they can effectively address trauma and emotional and physical dysregulation. Creative arts therapies can increase resilience by improving the sense of agency and self-understanding through the ability to express feelings symbolically. This can give new perspectives on oneself and on one’s world view, which is essential in the recovery process.”

In addition to the experience of safety, empowerment and the relief of symptoms of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress through symbolic expression, expressive therapies can help trauma survivors, particularly young people from diverse language and cultural backgrounds, to articulate concepts and meaning in a way that is not possible with traditional ‘talk-therapy.’

Research and Evidence from HEAL Programs

The Arts in Psychotherapy, 2014: Narratives of healing: A case study of a young Liberian refugee settled in Australia, Robert D. Schweitzer, Lyn Vromans, Grace Ranke, Jane Griffin.

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From Healing Rituals to Music Therapy: Bridging the Cultural Divide between Sudanese Refugees , by Carolyn Jones, Felicity Baker, and Toni Day, The Arts in Psychotherapy 31(2):89-100 (2004).

This article examines how a Milpera High School encourages non-English speaking immigrant students to explore and express their feelings through music and talking about song lyrics. This research helped in the development of Music Therapy at Milpera.

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