There are a number of different types of trauma treatment. One type of treatment, often used in conjunction with other therapeutic approaches, is expressive therapy. Expressive therapy can help traumatized individuals reconnect with their emotions in safe ways that allow them to process and release their trauma. Expressive therapy puts the individual back in control, empowering him or her to resolve difficult experiences, thoughts, and feelings primarily through activity instead of conversation.
What Is Expressive Therapy?
Expressive therapy involves creative or artistic expression. It may incorporate approaches like art therapy, music therapy, movement therapy (like dance or yoga), or play therapy. With direction from a certified therapist, individuals can use these avenues to translate their mental and emotional state regarding particular experiences, especially traumatic memories.
Expressive therapy is not confrontational, and it does not provoke disturbing feelings or require an individual to recount an experience. Instead, it allows a person to access his or her subconscious mind safely and use creative energy to help untangle cognitive hang-ups. In fact, a study published in The Arts in Psychotherapy showed that after participating in naturalistic treatment that included art therapy, 45% of participants (PTSD patients) met the criteria for recovery and 44% experienced improvement.
How Does Expressive Therapy Help Resolve Trauma?
Expressive therapy helps individuals resolve trauma in a few different ways:
Safe externalization. A study published in theJournal of the American Art Therapy Association reports that art therapy helped study participants externalize their trauma and emotions, providing an opportunity to examine their inner selves.
Treatment participation. The same study revealed that art therapy increased participation in treatment. For the study, one group participated in art therapy and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT); another group participated only in CPT. Of those only participating in CPT, 40% dropped out of treatment early, whereas none of those involved in both art therapy and CPT dropped out.
Resilience and emotional re-engagement. A study published in Psychomusicology says that music therapy allows individuals to build resilience. It also allows them to re-engage emotional pathways that have been shut down or numbed by a traumatic experience.
Other expressive therapies that include movement may help restore the mind-body connection. Trauma has a way of severing or impeding our ability to correctly interpret physical sensations as non-threatening.
It can also cause psychosomatic symptoms like migraines and chronic pain. When physical activity and creativity are used to re-establish a healthy connection to the mind and emotions, trapped survival energy from traumatic experiences can be released
Trauma-Informed Expressive Therapy at BeWell Network
At BeWell Network, we practice trauma-informed care that does not rely on the disclosing of traumatic storylines. Instead, we seek safe ways for clients to process and resolve their trauma, we use expressive therapy in conjunction with other evidence-based treatments.
Expressive therapy is a nonverbal approach to healing trauma. When trauma is coupled with addiction, it’s especially important to restore the brain’s wiring and rebuild its synapses. During expressive therapy, parts of your subconscious mind can be interpreted, and dysfunctional thinking patterns can be repaired. Through art, music, or movement, you can access primal emotions and reconnect to your body. As your brain recovers through detox, so does your mind through expressive therapy and treatment. We have a registered art therapist on staff who can guide you through the process of employing your creativity to restore your mind.
We also deal with dreams and nightmares to help dismantle the pain that is causing them so that you can sleep peacefully again. Nightmares are a hallmark of PTSD, and they can often show up in patients who have experienced trauma. We do dream work to resolve the underlying energy sparking those bad dreams, nightmares, and night terrors so that you can thrive again.
Help for Trauma and Addiction at BeWell Network
BeWell Network is a family of evidence-based treatment centers. We help individuals suffering from addiction find the path to recovery, offering customized treatment experiences for the restoration of the mind, body, and spirit. If you or a loved one is seeking therapy for trauma and addiction, please get in touch with our team today. We can assess your situation and recommend treatment options, verifying your benefits for free. We have a no-hassle billing process and are committed to providing treatment designed specially for you.