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Integration of Poetry Therapy in the Treatment of Trauma

Presented by Elaine Brady, PhD, LMFT, CAS, CSAT-S - 6 CE Hours

Workshop Description:
Childhood trauma has been shown to have long-term consequences for physical and mental health in adulthood. Multiple studies have shown associations between childhood trauma and later psychological distress, psychiatric disorders, depression, and substance abuse.

Unfortunately, one of the primary defense mechanisms utilized to cope with childhood trauma is psychological avoidance (e.g. emotional numbing and memory repression/amnesia), which can interfere with the establishment of a therapeutic relationship and significantly impair symptom resolution.

The Expressive Arts Therapies have been found to be especially successful in working with trauma victims in that they provide a safe environment within which client’s can reclaim lost emotions and memories and transform their life story from one of helplessness to empowerment.

This workshop will present the core philosophies and techniques of Poetry Therapy as an adjunct modality in the treatment of adult childhood trauma survivors. Various readings and experiential exercises will be utilized to demonstrate the use of poetry to evoke emotions and memories, integrate these into conscious memory and transform the client’s life story from that of Victim to Survivor. Resources for identifying appropriate material and deepening your skills in the use of Poetry Therapy will be provided.

Learning Objectives:
At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:
1. Identify the adult representations of childhood trauma;
2. Identify the concepts of “traumatic memory” transformation;
3. Discuss the Developmental Model of Trauma and Addictive Behavior;
4. Identify four unique characteristics of Expressive Therapies;
5. Describe the short-and long-term effects of poetry therapy;
6. Identify the four stages of poetry therapy; and,
7. Integrate poetry therapy into the psychotherapeutic process