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.
The benefits of ArtReach long survive the departure of their training teams. ArtReach’s “Train the Trainers” program prepares a select cadre of talented members of the local professional community to become regional ArtReach trainers. A professional training other professionals is a proven model that can have an effect on a large and diverse population, ensure sustainability of the model, and leverage financial and human resources. ArtReach further ensures its sustainability by providing ongoing supervision and mentoring for these regional trainers until they are able to continue the work on their own. ArtReach programs provide children with assistance in their ability to concentrate.