How Art Can Overcome Trauma

Overcome Trauma pic

Overcome Trauma
Image: traumaabusetreatment.com

A licensed psychologist and social worker, Dr. Miriam Galindo maintains a private practice in Irvine, California, where she typically assists families going through high-stress divorce and child custody cases. Dr. Miriam Galindo focuses on play and art therapy, which holds enormous potential to help not only children working through family crises, but also those around the world who have experienced traumas associated with war, persecution, and forced migration.

Many psychologists and laypeople formerly believed that encouraging children to remember and draw their recollections of extreme traumas did more harm than good. Today, experts know better, and often use art as a means of personal catharsis and one of the first steps in emotional recovery.

Humanitarian aid workers in Darfur were astonished in 2005 when young victims of the tiny East African country’s violent militant group began creating paintings and drawings associated with their traumas. Even professional news photographers had been unable to capture some of the images the children were creating. Many of the pieces were so accurate that they were offered into evidence before the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

Psychologists also have written moving accounts of how art helped other young victims of civil wars in the developing world. In one example, a young girl who had witnessed the massacre of her family and the burning of their home drew her way through the agonizing details. The process helped her to release her fear and anguish. She went on to attend high school and work toward her dream of becoming a teacher.

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