Expressive Arts Therapies: Working with Survivors of Torture

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Gray AE.
Expressive arts therapies: working with survivors of torture.
Torture. 2011;21(1):39-47.

Read free full text at Torture Journal.

Amber Elizabeth Lynn Gray reviews twenty-six articles and papers in six therapeutic modalities with “emerging, promising and best practice potentials for torture survivors”: art therapy, dance/movement therapy (including body-oriented therapy combined with brief therapy), drama therapy, music therapy, sandtray therapy, and ritual.

In her concluding considerations, Gray recommends an integrated approach to using expressive arts therapies in work with survivors of torture:

“On a cautionary note, the power that is inherent in the creative process indicates discretion and careful consideration in how and when these modalities are used, by whom and with whom. It is recommended
those who are appropriately trained and credentialed in the therapeutic practice of the expressive arts, or those working as artists, work closely with other experienced clinicians, community leaders or healers in cross cultural contexts to ensure that safety. Containment and processing of painful traumatic histories need to be titrated and respectful of personal and cultural boundaries. At minimum, the expressive arts therapies offered as adjunct (or primary) therapies with more “mainstream” therapies ensures that the therapeutic process is inclusive of the whole person. As a category of clinical modalities and practices, all of the expressive arts therapies might best be described as emerging clinical practice that offer tremendous promise.”

In addition to reviewing each of the six modalities in context of supporting research, Gray includes a list of highly recommended readings.

Read free full text at Torture Journal.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.