The philosophy behind the Healing Notes Project is that everybody has the choice to grow or decay from one’s adversity. The Healing Notes Project gives people the tools they need to help them grow from a crisis using art, sharing, inspiration, and hope.
How the Program Works
Each participant picks a symbol to draw on a personal card that they will make for someone else in crisis. The Healing Notes Project participants pick a symbol, we then read the message of the symbol, and then each participant draws the symbol they picked. During this process we talk about what the symbol might mean to them on a personal level and in what ways they have used the traits or embodied the energy of the symbol in their life. Each participant has the choice to share parts of their own story in the card or to leave it as anonymous as they want. At the end of the practice, each participant receives their own card with a symbol the group facilitator picks for them to have from someone else who has lived through a similar trial. The facilitator then takes the cards created with the group session to give out to participants in a future group. A Healing Note card is like giving a personal prayer to someone who is struggling with a life transition or crisis. In this way each participant incorporates a tool to help them heal as well as becoming a teacher to another. This act alone helps to empower and change the story from one of being a victim to someone who is helping someone else. In this way the experience of the crisis takes on another level of meaning further empowering the person in crisis. Through the exercises of the program, art therapy, and helping someone else in crisis, participants decrease their risk of PTSD as they become less helpless and more empowered in their healing process.
How The Healing Notes Project Can Be A Transformational Process For Working Through Crisis
Art is a transformational process for the creator and the viewer. It is a nonthreatening, nonverbal form of communication that can convey the artist’s energy with each shape and color better than words alone. Art is especially valuable to children who often do not have the verbal skills needed to express their feelings adequately.
Trauma is experienced in the right hemisphere of the brain where there is no language or reason. This means trauma lives within the part of brain that processes the information from our senses—what we see, hear, smell, touch, and taste (Rothschild, 2000). This is also why traumatic memories can be triggered through sensual stimuli associated with the trauma. Since trauma resides where language can’t, it is hard to tackle it through words alone. With trauma, we need a language of the senses. Art is a non-verbal form of this language that can help a victim to express one’s feelings, senses, and the beliefs or fears that have resulted from the experience. Focused practices, such as ones developed and outlined in this book, can help restore homeostasis to a person. For example, when the result of a trauma is that one feels powerless, a person needs to restore a sense of empowerment to help the experience not to result in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). However, people affected by crisis have often struggled to find ways to do this amidst an experience that has rattled everything they believed about themselves, others, or life itself. Instead of simply assuring someone whose self esteem has hit rock bottom to believe in themselves, the Healing Notes Program would work with a person to draw and learn about the lion. This lion becomes a source of energy for strength they can carry when they themselves feel depleted of it. Soon, they see the energy of the lion is part of them and always has been as they tap into this energy more and more through the art and meditative practices until self-esteem and feeling of strength is returned.
A common element between people that are traumatized is that they feel unsafe and powerless. This is a state that leads to becoming victims of one’s experience If the person does not reclaim their power, the experience becomes traumatic and the person feels more helpless, powerless, unsafe, and vulnerable. However when trauma victims are able to regain a sense of safety and empowerment, guilt and PTSD symptoms diminish.
The Healing Notes Program provides a set of tools to help people to become empowered while working through their feelings of helplessness. We do this through symbols that offer insight and strengths that while being drawn become a meditation of integration of those traits into one’s being. We work with the symbols to reframe the trauma in a way that one’s identity is reconstructed in a way that incorporates new strengths and traits of empowerment.
Please Note: All artwork produced is donated to BTPE, and each card will bear the name and story (if desired) of the artist. The Healing Notes Project is under copyright protection