RESILIENCY & RECOVERY
How can we prepare people and help them to navigate through these uncertain times?
Artists for the Humanities, an Appleton-based 501(c)(3), has adapted its expressive art program known as Art as a Tool for Healing so that it can assist community members grappling with the ‘new normal’ created by the COVID-19 pandemic. This program will help improve the participants’ overall quality of life while teaching coping mechanisms they can continue to use. The coping tools they will learn will allow them to function more effectively in the midst of today’s uncertainties. This program offers a social enrichment experience that delivers improved spiritual, physiological, and mental health.
Participants, in a group setting, are encouraged and guided in an image-making exercise that allows them to express their anxieties & fears in a drawing of their own making… followed by a “talking circle” that allows for carefully monitored group input and discussion. This approach has been used successfully with a variety of populations (i.e. military veterans and others suffering from trauma-related situations including PTSD) by enabling participants to (1) experience one another in a creative, safe and social setting, (2) complete image-making that is not only fun and expressive but is, most importantly, therapeutic in nature, and (3) provide meaningful activities that have a legitimate mental health component. All of this comes from inter-acting with others doing sensory art in a group setting.
The primary goal of our two-hour program is to bolster the personal resiliency of participants by creating a safe and confidential environment in which participants can work to understand and express their thoughts and related feelings. Understanding themselves in the context of today’s realities is an important step in becoming resilient, recovering one’s equilibrium, and moving forward confidently.
For More information please contact Tim Mayer at firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile: (920) 915-5595
Artists for the Humanities is a Wisconsin-based non-profit organization dedicated to the usage of expressive art as a tool for healing. A4TH, Artists for the Humanities, assists disabled military veterans and at-risk community populations who have experienced trauma and other challenging situations. A4TH works to support people in need, offering expressive art, art therapy, supportive art programs combined with mental health counseling and guidance. A4TH is committed to directing people towards solving their problems and dedicated to helping them improve the quality of their lives.
Expressive Art Explained
Brain imaging research on combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has revealed reduced activity in the area governing speech, and increased activity in areas governing fear, anger, memory, and visual processing. These findings are in keeping with the two types of PTSD symptoms: the so-called “positive” symptoms (hyper-arousal, intrusive thoughts, nightmares, and anger); and, the “negative” symptoms (avoidance and emotional numbing).
There are many ways of treating PTSD, and some are quite effective. However, expressive art has been shown to be effective regarding both the “positive” and “negative” symptoms, while some therapies seem only to address the “positive.” Emotional numbing is an inability to feel any type of emotion, and it must be dealt with for recovery to occur.
In using artistic expression, sufferers of PTSD can make images more or less overtly demonstrative of traumatic events or their feelings aroused by them. This is especially possible for those for whom it is difficult or impossible to talk about such things.
The making of physical art is an externalization (a demonstration outside of self) of the sufferer’s condition and its causes. The revelations of such condition and causes may be emotionally very risky for the individual. Therefore, such activity must be undertaken among others who are trusted to be patient, supportive, and empathetic. To foster this environment, A4TH employs counselors, artists, and mentors—many of whom who are combat veterans themselves.