Art Therapy and Neuroplasticity: How Creativity Can Heal Trauma

The literature review focuses on the neurobiological theories of the impact of trauma on the brain, the resulting impairments in functioning, and the healing potential of creativity engagement through art therapy. The literature review strives to answer the research question: can art therapy assist in recovery from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD.) This researcher determines to discover the neurobiological mechanisms in the brain that result from a traumatic experience and subsequent art therapy interventions to treat individuals with PTSD effectively. This researcher speculates that effective art therapy interventions can lead to the integration and transformation of an individual’s experience from a trauma event and may improve the functioning level of individuals who have had debilitating traumatic experiences. This researcher speculates that creativity engagement in a therapeutic environment can promote neuroplasticity resulting in long-term changes of negative patterns of thought, and resolution of destructive perception of self as a result of trauma. This researcher speculates that art therapy can open an avenue for individuals with PTSD to reframe traumatic events, leading to higher levels of resiliency. This paper describes art therapy as a unique approach, which is most appropriate for the multidimensional treatment of PTSD.

Kristin C. Kane
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PDF icon Kane MP 2013.pdf1.62 MB