Self Harm and Creative Arts

Posted by: Priya Senroy on July 24, 2014 3:34 pm

I could not find any metaphors to tie these two-I am sure there are many…for me at times its best to keep it as simple and direct as possible keeping in mind the sensitivity of the topic and the young clients that I work with. Summer has had an influx of teens that are as they say “being discovered’ by their parents or other faults as having self harm behavior-and they blame it on the weather and their clothing….no matter what the reasons are…one thing is sure that this needs to be addressed and expressed in many ways and creative arts has been a window of opportunity for some of these youth who have chosen to explore this medium. Some techniques that are based on the technique of focusing can be modified and used in various ways. I have found useful are:

Creating a Safe Space: Using art materials an image of the felt sense of the safe place is created. Once the client does this step, it may be fine to just stop here. This is an important step in creating a safe place within that the client can always choose to return to, whenever she or he needs to. The client can also embody this safe space and using movement, music and gestures could use it either as an intervention technique or calming technique.

2. Safe Space/Creating Distance: Once the client creates the safe space, and can clearly make connection to it when she or he needs to, then the client can move to place all the things between her/him and feeling all fine. Beginning with the safe place, in the art form, the client uses the art materials to symbolize the issues in the way of feeling all fine. Possibilities include, drawing symbols of each issue, or writing, onto pieces of construction paper; tearing or cutting into shapes papers to represent each issue; or using clay, beads, or other objects to symbolize the issues. These objects or papers are then placed at a distance that feels right to the client, from the safe place. The client resonates, or checks inside for a feeling of rightness as well as to check whether there is some more space inside. If the client connects with the image/art piece, it may be helpful to have the drawing/image present during subsequent sessions. When the client focuses on the experience, invite the client to sense the whole feel of it in her or his body.. While creating the art, the client resonates the handle (image/symbol), checking for a right fit.

More information on self harm and creative arts can be found in:

http://www.lianalowenstein.com/Self-injury.pdf

http://www.dtaa.org.au/download/Thematic%20Unfolding.pdf

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/pdf/self-harm%20distractions%20and%20alternatives%20final.pdf

BY: Priya Senroy




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

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