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How expressive art therapy allowed me to heal from childhood trauma.

"Art can permeate the very deepest part of us, where no words exist." Eileen Miller

Hi, I’m Jen and this is my story, I want you to know that we all have our struggles, we’re all human after all.

There are so many elements of my childhood that created trauma, my parents divorce, my stepmothers jealously, rage and rejection of my sister and I, which in turn led to my dad abandoning us completely.

I was a pretty messed up little girl who grew into an adult with abandonment issues, feelings of being unloved, unworthy, body dysmorphia, and a desperate need to feel wanted and good enough.

A few years ago, I had already begun to work on my inner child, and I thought I was making progress; however, I started a job working with children who were experiencing trauma, I even witnessed a lot of it right in front of me, over the 6 months that I worked there I was seriously re-traumatised. Every time I witnessed something the little girl inside of me was screaming and I desperately wanted to hold the children close and tell them I’d protect them and that they would be ok. But I couldn’t, I felt like a complete failure. I felt as though I had let them down and was unable to protect them. The truth is, I had let my inner child down, because she desperately wanted to be protected and loved, yet I was still ignoring her and making her feel even more worthless.

I began to use creativity and image making in art therapy, the experiences were so powerful.

"Art is a constant agent of transformation and is indeed the souls drive to health." Cathi Malchiodi.

My healing journey changed everything for me, it made me realise why I acted in certain ways, how I was triggered, even by my own children, why I held the beliefs that I did and reacted emotionally to certain events. Childhood trauma literally shapes who we become as adults and it became clear why I had felt un-loveable, why I had jumped from one toxic relationship to another, why I could never stay at a job, it was accountable for much of my own self-destructive behaviours. It was like having my eyes opened to a whole new way and understanding of life.

That’s when I knew I needed to use my journey and help others through theirs.

And so I moved from working with children providing art and craft sessions to training on an MA art therapy course.

I now work as an art therapist in a school helping children experiencing trauma, something I never would have been able to do before! And also, as a 1:1 Art Therapist guiding others to creatively heal.

I am passionate and a huge advocate for using art and play in healing our inner child, you do not have to have any previous experience of art or image making, just a willingness to explore.

Art is not always about pretty things, it's about who we are, what happened to us, and how our lives are affected. Elizabeth Broun.

With love and understanding, Jen 🥰


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