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Art therapy program offers safe space to process trauma

For many people, creating art is a fun hobby used to express creativity and practice


However, for some patients at the Behavioral Health Outpatient Services at Ascension All Saints Hospital, art has taken on a whole new meaning, serving as a valuable tool to help navigate their mental health journeys and process trauma. 

At Ascension All Saints, patients now have the opportunity to participate in a weekly art therapy group led by a certified art therapist.

During programming, the art therapist helps guide participants to express and process their emotions. 

woman participating in art therapy project

When asked about the benefits of art therapy, the art therapist shared, “Engaging in art making provides people with a positive outlet to cope with tough emotions and can bring about a sense of calm. Art therapy provides individuals with a level of safety to process trauma in a way that the spoken language cannot offer.”

In art therapy, it isn’t necessarily about the final product, but the process used to get there, and the emotions that are identified and expressed along the way. 

Participants are given the option to choose their own materials and make art in a manner that works best for them. At the end of the session, participants are encouraged to share their artwork with the group to enrich the experience for all and provide individuals an opportunity to talk about what they created, though sharing is never required. 

"Art has the ability to aid in healing of trauma, as it can be accessed without having to be spoken about. This provides patients with a level of safety when working through such a sensitive subject. Art making can be used as a positive coping skill to help people navigate through depression or anxiety, and replace many negative coping mechanisms like self-harm or substance use."

When participating in art therapy, patients gain support and encouragement while learning skills to help navigate difficult emotions through practices such as meditation and mindfulness. Partaking in art therapy also helps participants build confidence, increase

self-esteem and promote personal reflection. 

The art therapy group at the Behavioral Health Outpatient Services at Ascension All Saints meets weekly on Tuesday nights from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and is available for patients 18 and older. 

Ascension Wisconsin provides personalized, compassionate treatment programs to help those with behavioral and mental health needs. By investing in our addiction, behavioral services and mental health units, you directly contribute to the enhancement of resources, advancement of treatments and implementation of evidence-based practices. Thank you for making this possible.


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