WHAT WE DO
Art to Healing empowers women and children globally who have been sold into sex slavery to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives free from trauma, exploitation and abuse.
We believe that to transform the unimaginable physical and emotional trauma these women and children have experienced into self-love, resilience and self-compassion, awareness and kindness need to be brought to the physical experiences within the body.
We support women and children to transform their lives and heal their bodies through expressive art therapies, Somatic Experiencing®, trauma informed yoga and mindfulness based practices.
While our main-focus is supporting women and children affected by sex slavery and exploitation to transform their lives, we also provide psychological services, workshops and programs to vulnerable communities. We work with refugees, families and individuals that have been displaced within their own countries, children impacted by natural disasters and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.
HOW WE WORK
Why a Holistic Strengths-Based Approach?
We employ a holistic-strengths based therapeutic approach that is informed by positive psychology principles. This approach focuses not on what’s wrong, but on the individual strengths each woman and child possesses. We empower women and children to identify their individual strengths tobuild what inner resources they already have and transform their own lives.
This approach builds resilience, self-esteem, confidence and self-compassion; this approach enables the women and children we work with to live lives free from fear and trauma.
What is Trauma?
The term trauma has been used in many contexts by many different people and has lost some of its essential meaning.
For us, trauma refers to any event that is extremely upsetting such as rape, sexual abuse or a devastating natural disaster. A traumatic event overwhelms a person’s inner resources for dealing with the situation. Trauma is not limited to one’s experience of the traumatic event, but also includes the psychological aftermath that remains in the body, mind and heart and significantly reduces a woman or girl’s ability to live a fulfilling and meaningful life.
Trauma is complex and nuanced: it expresses itself differently in every individual.
Trauma is experienced on all levels, in our bodies, our minds (appearing as flashbacks and memories), in our hearts, our emotions and in our behaviour towards others and ourselves.
Therefore, to transform trauma into self-love, resilience and self-compassion, awareness and kindness need to be brought to all levels of experience: the mind, the heart and the body.
For women and children who have been violated, many remain disconnected from the sensations within their bodies. To support women and children to gently reconnect with their bodies, we use trauma informed yoga and mindfulness practices and Somatic Experiencing®. These practices are not invasive and impact the central nervous system on a very subtle level, enabling rewiring of the brain and neural connections to take place.
For many women and children who have been sexually abused and exploited, they lack the words to express what and how they feel and to talk about their experiences. Expressive art therapy provides a safe, intuitive medium for women and children to express what how they think and feel. As Transpersonal Art Therapist Pat Allen reminds us, “art is a way of knowing.”
Through expressive art therapies, we can bridge the gap between what is felt and what cannot be expressed verbally: we can create a new way of making sense and learning about our experiences.
Mindfulness and psychological modalities such as narrative therapy and counselling can support women and children affected by complex trauma to gain insight into their experiences, develop greater self-awareness and make meaning from what are oftentimes horrific memories and experiences.
Psychological therapies enable women and children to determine a pathway out of their trauma and to re-write an empowering new narrative for themselves.