Trauma Therapy

Using creative methods to activate resources helps trauma victims out of paralysis, enables them to create protected spaces for themselves and to develop their vitality. Without the need for words, artistic expression of the unspeakable bridges the gap that must be overcome in order to recover from trauma.

During trauma therapy courses we work in five stages. Together, step by step, client and therapist will only embark on the next stage once a solid base has been achieved in the previous stage.

The five stages have the following emphases:

Each stage includes stabilising and confrontational elements.

What is trauma?

Just because something is stressful, does not immediately mean the victim is suffering from trauma. Traumas are sudden, recurring or long-lasting, existentially threatening and hopeless situations that make the sufferer feel powerless and helpless.

If the stressful experiences are not worked through, they can cause life-long scars in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder and stress-related health problems which cause numerous mental and physical symptoms. These have a negative impact on one’s quality of life and one’s lifestyle. The brain will usually have changed in ways which make it more difficult to handle everyday stress. Even just a little stress can then become a major burden.

Most people will be traumatised by accidents; natural disasters; wartime experiences; flight from forced displacement or experiences in prison; the loss of loved ones; severe illness; critical medical intervention; the experience of various types of violence; and emotional, physical and sexual abuse, or sometimes also bearing witness to such abuse.

Trauma therapy in conjunction with art therapy and creativity fostering

Trauma therapy is about processing trauma, which occurs in five stages with the following emphases:

1. Anamnesis
2. Stabilisation and resource activation > improving skills needed to function in everyday life
3. Trauma confrontation combined with stabilisation methods
4. Integration of experiences into the life of the person affected
5. Development of new perspectives and a new beginning

Each stage includes stabilising and confrontational elements.

No. 1: At this stage the client’s concerns are discussed. An anamnesis includes an assessment of the clients’ internal and external resources, an overview of the client’s trauma experience and the traumatic events connected to it. During this stage it is important to differentiate between the various types of trauma (type I trauma, multiple trauma, prolonged trauma). Furthermore, the client’s overall clinical picture and any trauma-induced symptoms are evaluated. A treatment plan is then put together, which includes setting therapy goals and selecting an approach.

No. 2: The stabilisation stage focuses on strengthening resources. An essential element in achieving this is the imagination, whereby creating art can increase the impact it has. A painting or object is created that is visible to the outside world. Creativity fostering is also useful at this point. The experience of actually creating something, and of being the cause of an effect, reduces the feeling of helplessness. The experience that one can influence the environment through proactive behaviour is also enacted during this process. Stabilisation means improving the skills needed to function in everyday life; it does not mean encouraging avoidance behaviour. Therefore, this stage already includes confrontational elements, e.g. improvement of social skills and encouragement to focus on the present moment in time. Ego-state therapy leads the individual parts of self onto the path towards a “family of self” within a single individual.

No. 3: Confronting trauma happens in close cooperation between therapist and patient, whilst maintaining inner distance and keeping to a pace that is tailored to the needs of each individual patient. Resources that have been developed so far now offer a helping hand. During this process, a painting can be the key needed to open the door to the traumatic experience.

No. 4: The stage of integration introduces the self to feelings such as grief, despair, anger, etc. as gently as possibly. At this point, creating art offers new opportunities to express feelings by making them visible. Feelings of hope, joy, optimism, etc. are given shape and expression.

No. 5: A new beginning lets the patient look ahead to the future. Farewells and new beginnings are important here. The patient experiences and comes to accept the transience of life. Old images are said goodbye to and new images map out ideas for the future.


Feel free to contact me via contact form or telephone: 0049 (0)89 31982954