The ArtReach Foundation® assists through the education of the creative expressive arts therapies, of painting, music, dance, movement and creative writing, with the growth and development of children who have experienced the traumatic effects of war, violence, and/or natural disaster. For over 17 years, The ArtReach Foundation® has developed a training method called the ArtReach Model® which has assisted thousands of children in the US and abroad.
- Activities including the art disciplines of painting, writing, drama, music and dance are used and intertwined together throughout each day of an ArtReach workshop.
WORKING IN METAPHOR AND SAFE SPACE
Working in metaphor allows for the traumatized imagination to approach the unapproachable, to address the unspeakable in image and story, and to shift one’s internal experience to allow for gradual illumination when the heart and mind are ready to process trauma. ArtReach works within the metaphor with all ages and across all traumas. In addition to the models power in healing the individual, working with metaphor not only protects the individual from having to “tell the secret” in words, but protects the group from having to hear others’ secrets that may be unbearable and that may create secondary trauma in those already holding their own traumas. Work in metaphor can also create safety in maintaining distance from trauma and working within the symbolic. This distance allows a group to establish connections around work within the same metaphor, while each member processes unique meaning and specific memories related to the group metaphor. This creation of “safe space” within a small group is essential to risk taking, to trying new behaviors, and to transformational growth through the creative arts.
USING THE IMAGINATION TO HEAL
The gift of the imagination is an essential part of human nature. Our minds generate images, stories, and new possibilities, just as we do in our dreams. The imagination is a way of grasping and understanding both external reality and our internal subjective world. Often we are not able to understand or resolve challenges through rational, conceptual thought and problem solving. Instead, first attempts emerge as images that capture feelings and the earliest glimmers of understanding. The imagination creates images of hope, resilience and new possibilities that can give fresh perspectives to the most difficult and problematic experiences occurring as a result of trauma.
The ArtReach Model carefully fuses visual art, drama, music, dance, movement and writing within the group dynamics. These components are seen as functions of the imagination. Each of these components makes its particular contribution to the overall efficacy of the Model.