Creative Therapies With Traumatized Children by Anne Bannister

By Anne Bannister

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I was discovering the links between art and healing. The use of dance, song and ritual has been connected with healing throughout history, as has visual art, poetry and storytelling. xii). Fairytales are doubtless metaphors for many truths, but they can only be understood in context. Their deep significance in many cultures is clearly not confined to children. 41 42 CREATIVE THERAPIES WITH TRAUMATIZED CHILDREN In my own work I have used fairy stories, particularly the story of Little Red Riding Hood, in work with sexually abused children and adult women.

As I have noted in the discussion on child development, our primary experiences are sensory rather than verbal and it may be that early experiences of sexual abuse are retained in sensory memory and cannot be expressed verbally but only somatically. ’ It is noticeable in clinical work that many abused children suffer from somatic complaints such as headaches, stomach pains, problems of incontinence or bowel problems. Work has been done on the latter by Dr G. Devroede in Canada (personal communication 1994), who has shown links between sexual abuse and constipation and other bowel problems in adult women.

This name was meant to illustrate the fact that children contributed significantly towards their own healing. It seemed to be effective with the many sexually abused children who were seen by the team of therapists, of which I was a part. The hypothesis was formed that the interactive approach may duplicate the developmental processes which occur during infancy and childhood. It was recognized, of course, that the development of attachment may be dysfunctional or absent where there has been no opportunity for interaction between mother or permanent carer/s and the child.

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