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Art therapy, trauma and substance misuse: Using imagery to explore a difficult past with a complex client

Skeffington, P.M. and Browne, M. (2014) Art therapy, trauma and substance misuse: Using imagery to explore a difficult past with a complex client. International Journal of Art Therapy, 19 (3). pp. 114-121.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17454832.2014.910816
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Abstract

Literature regarding the efficacy of treatment programmes for post-trauma pathologies is prolific; however, often little attention is given to the treatment of resistant and complex trauma. Many psychotherapists recognise that a trauma history may need to be considered and explored, particularly when working with complex clients. Avoidance of distressing thoughts, feelings and images can manifest in a range of symptoms and behaviours other than post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including substance abuse and interpersonal problems. Creative therapies, such as art therapy, utilise the potentially unfamiliar language of imagery. Imagery, as an adjunct to a sense of safety and holding, in some cases has been shown to overcome therapeutic avoidance. This paper outlines the unveiling and recognition of intra-familial childhood trauma through Art Therapy with a highly articulate Australian woman battling binge drinking behaviours.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Publisher: Routledge as part of the Taylor and Francis Group
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/24909
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