Trauma Therapy Services in Singapore
According to Dr Daniel Siegel, trauma is defined as an experience or experiences that overwhelm one’s ability to cope, such as childhood abuse or a natural disaster. People often experience immediate reactions of shock and denial that the event has happened. However, some people may also experience an unpredictable emotional response.
A Singapore Mental Health Study reveals that around 2 in 3 adults experienced at least 1 adverse childhood experience in their first 18 years of life.
Developmental trauma refers to any early relational traumatic event, such as separation from parents, loss of a parent, physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse, that interrupts healthy attachment patterns such as emotional regulation, cognition, and behavioural control (Elbretch & Antcliff, 2014; Naff, 201; Lawson & Quinn, 2013).
If one does not process traumatic memories from their early childhood, it may have a long-lasting negative impact on the individual through adulthood. The long-term impacts include poor communication skills, unable to regulate emotions, having difficulties in forming new relationships or maintaining existing relationships, and having low self-esteem, confidence, and motivation. Such struggles may lead to mental health issues including suicidal ideation, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and other types of psychological struggles.
Holding such painful memories and emotions for long could also result in psychosomatic and physical symptoms. In other words, such emotional pain can manifest into physical body pain such as headaches, neck, shoulder, and back pain. Such pain will be long-term until the emotional pain is processed and released.
It is challenging to process these complex emotions on your own. With trauma-informed art psychotherapy, you will be able to process past difficult emotions in a safe, confidential and non-intrusive manner. That's how mental health professionals at Solace can help.
How Trauma Affects the Brain
Your brain's limbic system controls and processes emotions. It's not just responsible for creating emotional responses. These brain impulses also directly correlate to your action.
In most cases, emotional responses such as fear are essential to help you react to danger. For example, when you remember that fire feels hot and can burn you, you know that you will not touch the stove again. That's a normal reaction.
However, when you've experienced a traumatic event, memories and emotional responses may not be helpful to you. You still feel fear or anxiety even when the danger or threat is not present. You might also behave irrationally to an environmental trigger or perceived threat because you are reliving past traumatic experiences in the present. For instance, someone who has experienced childhood trauma from abuse might exhibit strong psychological responses to their childhood photos (Springer et al., 2013).
Dr Bessel van der Kolk, famous for his research on trauma healing, states that trauma sufferers may remember events differently. The brain might alter the memories stored, and they might be unable to regulate their emotions. Even those who can remember the terrible event might not be able to articulate what's happening to them.
Speaking about the trauma is not recommended, as sufferers may feel even more overwhelmed. This is known as emotional flooding. The sudden intensity of emotions can result in re-traumatisation, causing them to feel as if they're re-experiencing the terrible event. Therefore, while talking is generally good for sharing your feelings, this method is unhelpful for healing. In addition, sufferers might feel too intimidated by the psychological response of pain or grief to continue trauma counselling.
When unable to talk about their feelings, trauma sufferers may resort to rationalising their thoughts and feelings. As a result, they ignore their emotional responses, which causes their mental health to suffer.
In the long run, people unable to process or manage their feelings after a psychological trauma might struggle with low self-esteem or live with anxiety. Some might turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse or fall into depression. This will have a great impact on their health, personal life, work, and their loved ones. Therefore, working with a mental health professional for trauma treatment is highly recommended. Here's where mental health professionals from Solace play an important role, by guiding you on your journey through the healing process.
How Art Therapy Can Help
Why is it so important to seek treatment and process trauma responses if talking about trauma is not recommended?
Most people shut down their memories of adverse childhood experiences or traumatic events to live a normal life. But the tension and stress from the event remain. They might live with trauma symptoms such as chronic fatigue from constant mental and physical pressure. Or they resort to unhealthy coping behaviours to keep themselves distracted from the memories. Unresolved trauma can also lead to challenges in interpersonal communication and trust, which can affect a person’s relationship with others at home and at the workplace.
Therefore, the best way to help people who have experienced trauma is to let them express their feelings and experiences without talking about them.
Solace Art Psychotherapy facilitates healing through non-verbal communication using visual arts. Expressing their feelings through art such as colours and images, helps them to convey thoughts and feelings that may be difficult to say.
Whether drawing, painting, stitching or sculpting, artmaking allows the client to externalise their traumatic experiences or emotions through a sensorial and kinesthetic approach. Stepping back to assess the artwork allows the client to process the trauma gently, in a non-intrusive manner, helping to integrate their fragmented inner self through the art psychotherapy sessions. Over time, this can improve feelings of depression, self-harm, anxiety and low motivation.
At Solace, our trauma-informed art psychotherapists will be there to guide you by establishing a safe environment before processing the trauma experiences and the difficult emotions at the pace that you need.
Trauma Therapy through Art
You do not need artistic skills to attend art therapy sessions. At Solace, art therapy is not just a way to process trauma and understand the stress triggers in your life. You can also engage in these sessions for personal development and professional growth. Children, youth and adults are welcome to try these sessions before deciding to embark on a self-discovery, recovery, and healing journey with our art psychotherapists at Solace.
Single Session ($210)
We encourage new clients to experience one or two single sessions with our art psychotherapists before taking up a package to ensure the best client-therapist fit.
Package of 10 Sessions ($1800)
We highly recommend clients consider taking up the one package as it allows our art psychotherapists to have sufficient sessions to embark on a healing journey with our clients.
Package of 5 Sessions ($950)
From the second package onwards, if required.
Each session is up to 90 minutes long. Absolutely no artistic skills or prerequisites are needed for our psychotherapy sessions.
We also highly recommend clients take a package of 10 sessions ($1800) so our professional art psychotherapists can embark on a healing journey with our clients. Afterwards, they can sign up for five sessions ($950) from the second package onwards.
If you think you or your child needs art therapy, reach out to us via WhatsApp or our Contact Form to start your healing journey today.