Posts Tagged ‘trauma’

During 2011, Art Therapy Without Borders will be featuring members from the Advisory Council as an opportunity to learn more about their work and some of the art therapy initiatives they are involved in that speak to this community’s vision.  April’s spotlight includes Rebekah Chilcote, MA, ATR, PC:

Registered Art Therapist, Professional Counselor, and Fulbright Scholar Rebekah Chilcote, MA, ATR, PC has worked with child survivors of the Sri Lanka tsunami, children in Africa orphaned by AIDS and Palestine youth impacted by violence and war in the West Bank. Rebekah also currently serves as an Assistant Program Coordinator for the International Child Art Foundation’s Haiti Healing Arts Team and  works with the African Heart Art project.

Tell readers a little about yourself and what your interests are in art therapy: I am passionate about international art therapy and helping traumatized children world-wide.  I grew up in Africa as a missionary kid and as a twelve-year-old, spent every waking moment at an orphanage in Zimbabwe where I helped care for forty-five infants and toddlers, including baby Aaron who died of AIDS. This experience changed my life forever and I later returned to Zimbabwe as a Fulbright scholar to carry out a study on the use of art with children orphaned by AIDS. The materials were basic; the art tasks simple; the results profound. Children who had watched their family members die of AIDS had no chance to express their grief and pain. Their emotional needs, left unaddressed, were overwhelming.  Through drawing and painting the orphans opened their hearts to me, pouring out stories of trauma, but also hope. This was my first experience with the power of art therapy and I have since completed a master’s degree with the hopes of moving back to Africa to establish long-term art therapy programs there. In recent years, I have continued my passion of traveling the world, providing art therapy for traumatized children on four continents. I have lived and worked with child tsunami survivors in Sri Lanka, street kids in Ethiopia, homeless children in Cleveland, genocide survivors in Rwanda and most recently children traumatized by war in the West Bank, Palestine. People often ask me, ‘how can you stand the suffering?’ To me, it is the greatest honor of my life to walk beside those in desperate need. It is my holy ground.

What do you believe are important considerations or emerging issues for the international art therapy community to pay attention to?  I believe that addressing cross-cultural issues is of the utmost importance when discussing international art therapy today. The need to offer healing to those in need, while, at the same time maintaining cultural sensitivity and awareness is critical.  I believe it is important to avoid imposing western standards or methodology without understanding the culture you are in. Some questions I ask myself when arriving in a new country for the first time are: “What are the needs of the people here and how can I work along-side them to bring healing?” How do they express grief culturally?” “What healing mechanisms are already in place within the culture, such as art expression, dance, or tribal rituals?”

I strongly emphasize working hand in hand with the local people as this impacts program success in the short-term and sustainability of the program in the long run.  It is always my primary aim to enter into a new culture with gentleness, sensitivity and openness, offering my skills, but not imposing them. As more and more art therapists begin to explore and travel our world, the need for this understanding is great.

What are some special art therapy projects you are working on in 2011?  My efforts right now are focused on supervising the children’s program at a residential homeless shelter in inner-city Cleveland. I find the work both challenging and exhilarating; the children some of the most remarkable I have known.

I am spending a lot of time writing and am working on preparing a book for publication which will include children’s drawings, paintings, art therapy sessions and personal stories from around the world. In addition, I am writing grant proposals and applying for funding to establish an ongoing art therapy/ grief center on the continent of Africa (hopefully in Zimbabwe). With over one million children orphaned by AIDS in the country of Zimbabwe alone, the need for art therapy and grief work is great. I am hoping to connect with partners, both locally and globally to join me in this venture.

How can people contact you or find out more about your work?  Feel free to email me at rebekahchilcote@gmail.com or connect with me on Facebook.

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Art Therapy Without Borders is excited to announce that registration is now open for a full day course on Trauma Informed Art Therapy to be held April 12 @ the San Francisco Airport Hyatt Regency Hotel.  This course is being taught by Cathy Malchiodi, PhD, LPAT, LPCC and Gretchen Miller, MA, ATR-BC and being offered a day before the start of the Society for the Arts in Healthcare Conference, also being held at the same venue.

This one-day course will introduce you to trauma informed art therapy and how to apply practical strategies to your work with children and adults who have experienced a wide variety of traumatic events.Trauma informed art therapy integrates neuroscience and neurodevelopment, somatic approaches, mindfulness practices, and resilience enhancement, using art making as the core approach. It is based on best evidence-based practices identified by SAMSHA and The National Institute for Trauma and Loss. This course is open to mental health and healthcare professionals and students; no previous experience with art therapy is required.

-Early Bird Registration before March 1, 2011: $140 for professionals; $120 for students
-Registration after March 1, 2011: $165 for professionals; $140 for students

Cost includes all course materials and outlines, art materials, and certificate of completion; continuing educational credits from NBCC, APA , APT and California MFT available for an additional $25 for 6 CECs. Continuing education credits have been applied for with the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), APA, APT, and California of Behavioral Science (for MFTs).  This course fulfills part of the Trauma Informed Art Therapy Certificate Program; all participants will receive a certificate of completion from The National Institute for Trauma and Loss.

For more information and to register, visit the ATWB website. All proceeds to go to Art Therapy Without Borders. Space is limited, so register early!