November 2021 |
Our Blog Stories and Articles
Open Doorways into Understanding Trauma
Diana's Message
Healing Trauma through the Arts
Dear loyal blog readers,
This month’s blog topic is personal for me. If you know anything about me, you probably know what a crucial role the arts have played in my family’s transformation and healing from trauma.  
My child developed severe mental health symptoms after years of being bullied in middle school, but then thrived in every imaginable way – essentially healed - in a special artistic and academic high school program and has continued to blossom in artistic programs in college. Fortunately, in our case, we found that recovery is possible, the kind of recovery we hope will lead to a lifetime of growth and success. 

But it can also take a lifetime to understand trauma and accept what it has done to you and your family. Whether it's PTSD from military service, injury or violence in the streets, abuse, in the home, bullying at school or the overwhelming stress from natural disasters or economic and personal crises, trauma comes in many different forms. And its effects can last for many years. 

The terrible reality is that survivors of traumatic events hurt quietly and suffer deeply, mostly alone. There is shame and fear that accompany the experience of trauma. Its after-effects can be devastating and isolating.

They need to be evaluated and cared for in a therapeutic environment that offers healthy modalities for coping and working through the onerous aftermath; in this, creative expression can be a surprisingly effective tool in understanding, managing and healing trauma.
Art in any form expresses
a person's emotions in an immediate way.
These artistic expressions are unique. They are in real time. They resonate with us in important ways and manifest our intentions, including solutions that we realize are essential for us to heal.

I am a survivor of childhood assault and parental neglect. I have been healing from these experiences and have learned to become my own advocate, my own support system and my own life saving toolkit. I have been in therapy for decades and have learned and practiced all the ways to feel my pain and to be present in my healing -- which have been extremely valuable and transformational.

Now, in my early 60's I am writing poetry and my memoir, which has been the most extraordinary and healing experience I've ever had. I realize that creative expression is a form of self-care and self-respect.

Through all my years of trying to understand my suffering,
I have been slowly lifting the veil and looking at myself in the present moment and accepting my past. This has taught me how to integrate and express my feelings and life experiences through poetry and other art forms. 

I have learned from my family that, for us, self-expression is a personal imperative. Our inner artistic sanctuary is sacred, something to be cherished and honored. It is our home and haven - the place where we can thrive, grow and enhance our life.

It is our hope that you will discover your own creative passion (if you have not already), and enjoy release and fulfillment in creating something meaningful and authentically your own from deep in your heart and soul.

As always, thanks for reading!
Diana and Jan
More about Diana's healing journey.
Read her story in the New Multi-Author Best-Selling book!

How Art Heals: 5 Ways That Art Makes Everything Better
Creativity coach Shannon Borg provides top tips on the creative life.

In today’s post, creativity coach Shannon Borg points out one of art’s most important functions, as a healing agent.

Art fulfills many functions and means many things. No one needs to explain to a child why he or she should draw: children want to draw. To a child, art-making is as natural as eating or breathing.

As we get older, our relationship to art shifts, changes, and becomes rather more complicated. Art begins to function in all sorts of ways, from helping marketers sell products to telling truth to power.
Shannon explained:
In every age, art does a significant amount of work. On a trip to the Portland Art Museum last year, I walked around a corner to be faced with a stunning piece by one of my favorite artists, James Lavadour.
I was speechless. I spent 20 minutes looking at it from far away, and close up, and closer. I was transformed into a better version of me, one who can be calm, who can look, and who can live inside a moment and find peace. It was powerful.
As I walked through the museum, I started to think of some of the other things art does for us. From teaching us how to see in linear perspective, to letting everybody know who is in power, the jobs of Art (with a capital A) are many and diverse.
1. Art Lowers Anxiety
Just looking at art can be healing. For centuries, many cultures have used the mandala form as a tool for contemplation and prayer—letting the mind stop on one spot while the natural forces and chaos of the world swirl around you.

2. Art Generates New Solutions
Even the simplest art, like a Japanese enso, is layered with complexity. It's like William Blake’s idea of “the world in a grain of sand.” The more you look, the more ideas reveal themselves, whether the art is simple or complex. It takes time and patience to find, examine, and consider the endless options art offers.

3. Art (Both Making It and Looking at It) Can Have a Role in Therapy
Psychologist Cathy Malchiodi, in her book The Art Therapy Sourcebook, writes that art therapy is “a modality for self-understanding, emotional change, and personal growth.” Yes, focused attention on therapeutic benefits is helpful.

But what about most of us who don’t ever go to an actual art therapist?

Can art help us? Many artists will tell you that making art is therapeutic and calming, that it helps you calm distracting, negative, and unhelpful thoughts, and that it gets your hands and body working as opposed to only your mind.

4. Art Helps Us Deal with Difficult Realities
Poetry is consoling in times of unrest and pain, illness and grief. The poet Richard Wright wrote more than 4,000 haiku during his last year of illness in Paris. Wright’s daughter Julia said he continued “to spin these poems of light out of the gathering darkness.” Art works like that and serves like that.

5. Art Builds Safe, Meditative, Imaginative Spaces
Making art can break open and free trauma. For me, walking and beachcombing calm my mind’s storm. And then I paint to have a similar experience or visit galleries or art online to experience how other artists have translated their emotions and observations into healing messages. In these ways, I experience a pure connection to imagination, the land where everything is okay for a little while.
Eric Maisel, Ph. D., is the author of more than 40+ books and is widely regarded as Americas foremost creativity coach. He trains creativity coaches nationally and internationally and provides core trainings for the Creativity Coaching Association. Eric Maisel was born in the Bronx, and grew up in Brooklyn.
He is the author of Redesign Your Mind, The Power of Daily Practice, The Van Gogh Blues, Coaching the Artist Within, and Why Smart People Hurt.

He is a retired California licensed psychotherapist and active creativity coach and writes regularly for Psychology Today, The Good Men Project, Thrive Global, and Fine Art America. 
Our Contact Details
Our blog content offers a variety of meaningful topics
and resources for you and your family.
WELCOME! We are so happy to have you join us!
I’m Diana Kendros, the founder, designer, co-writer of our Trauma Talk Blog Series, and Mindset Coaching programs.

Let me introduce my good friend, Jan Sickler, our dedicated writer and editor. We are both nationally certified mental health educators, and we teach family members, caregivers, medical and physical therapy students.
Together, we created our blog series because we are parents with lived experience, that is, as parents we have seen our loved ones, our family members and our close friends, suffer from the ​anguish and havoc​ that trauma-related experiences inflict.

We Respect Your Privacy
You are receiving this email because you requested information from the sender. If you no longer wish to receive our communications, please unsubscribed below. 
Not your email address, or unfamiliar with with who we are?
This email message may have been forwarded to you from a friend or colleague. 
As always, thanks for reading, and we appreciate all the wonderful comments!
Diana and Jan