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Art Therapy looking to help victims express feelings

How to use art as a therapy

When going through traumatic situations, it is often times difficult for people to express how they feel.

A new type of therapy is looking to change that: art therapy.

In a dimly lit office with a feeling of peace lies home to a new and different type of counseling: a therapy that may put your mind at ease through art.

"Often times when we do verbal counseling or regular mental health counseling, we're looking at more explicit types of memory whereas art therapy looks at implicit. So things that are more sensory based," says Alison Boughn, a Mental Health Counselor with Mercy Medical Center.

And it's through using the senses, like sight, sound, and touch, that art therapists like Boughn aim to help patients through traumatic situations or triggers.

"We revisit some of those triggers in a way that's safer," says Boughn. "So whether it's through art, dance, movement, music, all of those different modes come together to create a new type of rationale or verbal language to those memories so they can be processed."

The fifty minute sessions start with a patient putting what they are feeling into a form of artistic expression, like drawing or dance, creating a memory.

From that memory, both the patient and the therapist explain the meaning behind it and how to create it into something new.

Now art therapy is not meant just for kids. In fact, Boughn says that art connects everyone and everything together.

"Having art as that middle ground to talk about some of these difficult things provides this bridge into more open conversations and less stigma associated with it," says Boughn. "You do not have to be an artist to do art therapy."

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