Home Is Where the Art Is – Mental Health – MSN Health & Fitness

 

Home Is Where the Art Is


A healthy way to work through trauma.

By PsychologyToday.com

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The film opens with a tight close-up of a freckle-faced girl in studious wire-rimmed glasses. She’s holding the microphone like an old pro and delivering her intro with the punchy timing of a seasoned war correspondent. “Hi. My name is Kalypso. I’m a ten-year-old girl who just happens to live in New Orleans.”

Kalypso Homan, now 11, is a Hurricane Katrina survivor and a budding filmmaker who made a video about the 2005 hurricane. The 12-minute video diary called “Kalypso’s New Orleans” has been viewed more than 4,400 times on YouTube.com and has garnered Homan invitations to screenings and events all over New Orleans. But fame and recognition wasn’t really her motivation. “It’s good to put an opinion out there,” says Homan. “It was six months after Katrina and we weren’t getting very much help, so I made a movie about why we needed help and what’s so special about New Orleans.”

Whether she knew it or not, Homan channeled her feelings into a form of creative expression known as art therapy. It’s a healthy way to work through trauma. And now, at Katrina’s one-year anniversary, people may want to pick up their paintbrushes. “At an anniversary, stress reactions come back,” says Cathy Malchiodi, a licensed art therapist and a director with the American Art Therapy Association. “It’s really important, especially for the children, to have some kind of outlet to express what’s going on and to remember it.”

Art therapy uses creativity to explore suppressed or painful feelings and to improve well-being. Engaging in creative projects, such as drawing, painting, and even movie making, can help people to communicate emotions that are difficult to verbalize. “When you talk about trauma, you’re only accessing those verbal memories,” says Malchiodi. “But when you start to do something sensory like art, you touch the part of the brain that’s been traumatized. Different things emerge in a child’s story when they’re doing art. Art is a safety valve in this way.”  Continued…

Source: Home Is Where the Art Is – Mental Health – MSN Health & Fitness

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