Tag Archives: trauma work

Tree of Life

Posted by: Priya Senroy on October 2, 2015 7:00 am


I have always been a fan of trees-specially the big sprawling ones like banyan trees, with their ever embracing branches, deep roots and lots of nurturing shades. These trees are embodiment of different kinds of lives. So when the metaphor is used as a therapeutic tool or approach, it gains different dimensions, different identity not only for the tree itself but also for the artists.

This approach enables people to speak about their lives in ways that make them stronger. It involves people drawing their own ‘tree of life’ in which they get to speak of their ‘roots’ (where they come from), their skills and knowledges, their hopes and dreams, as well as the special people in their lives. The clients then join their trees into a ‘forest of life’ and, in groups, discuss some of the ‘storms’ that affect their lives and ways that they respond to these storms, protect themselves, and each other.

This metaphor can be used with clients experiencing different issues, whether on individual or collective levels. The beauty of the tree is that it is approachable, non-judgemental and life giving. And so is the metaphor, when used appropriately, this creative art technique is a great counselling technique and can be used complimenting genograms, exploring self as well as family dynamics.

To learn more about its specific uses, http://www.lifecoachingwithlindsay.com/downloads/Prosperity_Tree_Handouts.pdf isa starting point.


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

When Arts, CBT and Trauma Decided to Form a Partnership

Posted by: Priya Senroy on July 16, 2015 11:52 am

Summer is fireading-767919_640nally here and I am excited about connecting my neurotransmitters with different evidence based practices so that I can inject different creative ideas combined with psychotherapeutic models.

So it’s time to go back to the virtual library and read voraciously. I came across these narrations: ” Jogging the Cogs: Trauma-Focused Art Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Sexually Abused Children” by Pifalo, T. (2007), and “Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association”, 24(4), 170-75; .

What I found interesting was the partnership of using creative art, trauma work and CBT. Even through it’s for a specific population, I am sure that it can be easily translated with any group as long as we understand the dynamic of the partnership. As I expand my tool box of activities and facilitation repertoire, I have come to realize that the modality of creative arts is flexible enough to absorb, modify and then deliver itself in a variety of ways using theories from different psychotherapeutic modalities. In my work using CBT, I often use worksheets as homework journaling thoughts and have found that words can sometimes be cumbersome and overwhelming for some. And I have been thinking on how to make it more accessible and interactive so that clients are not perturbed by the wordiness of the intervention. And that’s where creative arts come in as a value-added aspect of creative self-expression. When I use movement or a poetry or a piece of art or doodle as a way to record and translate the words into personal narratives, it seems to offer a channel for expression of experiences, and also supports the sensory-based understanding of how both the mind and body respond to anxiety and stress. And doodlefrom the book, I have gathered that art plus CBT plus trauma work have potential for bridging the gaps between the conscious and the unconscious. Pifalo who has conducted a number of research studies on trauma, using CBT and art therapy concludes the following:

“The visual nature of traumatic memory, the concrete graphic approach of art therapy, and the underlying structure of the cognitive behavioral approach create a powerful, efficient treatment model within which to achieve the goals of trauma focused therapy” (p.175).

By: Priya Senroy

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

Tribute to Creative Art Practitioners Around the World

Posted by: Priya Senroy on May 1, 2015 8:47 am

I am very optimistic that I will soon see a plethora of greenery outside my window even though Spring has been illusive in my garden. The buds, the birds and the weeds are finally getting out of their hibernation and my energy is getting renewed as I am planning my next steps in my work.

This month has been catastrophic in many parts of the worlds, especially in Nepal and it has resonated deeply as it’s a place that I have visited many times and when the tremors were felt as far as in India, it struck more as that’s where home is.

A part of me wants to jump on the next flight and join many organizations including Art therapy Without Borders to be part of the humanitarian work and use my skills for a cause which is beyond words for many.

I have done work with some PTSD but not directly been involved as other practitioners have during the deadly hurricanes, tsunamis or like the recent earthquake. When we talk about using creative arts or even counselling in such a broad spectrum, it’s important I think to remember the ways art can be used when words are not enough. It can be used as a compliment to assessment, to recovery, to healing. This is the time when creative arts can be transcultural, transformative and transnational, something that is advocated by Art Therapy Without Borders. Since I started practicing as a creative arts therapist in 1995, I have always been amazed by the flexibility, the adaptability, the ability to connect and the diversity of this field. Not only is the cultural and diverse fabric of the field is enriched by those who practice it , it’s the client group, it’s the techniques and it’s the materials which are constantly changing and adding to this melting pot of creativity.

This blog is a salute, a tribute and a standing ovation to the field, to the practitioners and to the world out there who believe in the power of creative art.


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