Body of Knowledge, Eco-art Therapy and Individual Psychology in the Treatment of Clients Living with Symptomatic Preverbal Trauma

Children are frequently exposed to abuse, crime, and violence on an annual basis and throughout their childhood (Finkelhor, Turner, Shattuck, & Hamby, 2013).  Experiencing at least one traumatic event during early childhood can lead to a diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013), which often has adverse developmental effects (Sperry, 2016; Willemsen, 2014).  This paper provides a review of the treatment of clients who have preverbal trauma with the goal of increasing the client’s quality of life and contribution to the common good.  This literature review aims to 1) help readers gain a better understanding of preverbal trauma and its effects, 2) review the processing and transforming of trauma memories, and 3) provide an overview of the use of expressive therapies, the restorative healing power of nature, and other trauma focused treatments.  An Individual Psychology perspective on trauma is also discussed.  The need for prevention of preverbal trauma as the best treatment, and the need for mental health clinicians to take an ecological perspective when treating children is also reviewed.  The research for this paper inspired a preverbal trauma art experiential called, “Out of and Into the Blues”.

Keywords:  Art therapy, creative therapies, eco-therapy, Individual Psychology, nature, preverbal trauma, trauma

Cynthia A. Parson
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PDF icon Cynthia Parson MP 2017.pdf1.29 MB