Processing Indirect Trauma Associated with the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks Using Visual Journaling

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Roberts, Diane
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
The researcher created and completed a six-week visual journaling plan focused on processing traumatic 9/11-related memories resulting from indirect exposure to trauma via electronic media. Results of the study are based on the frequency of recurrent themes and symbols in the artwork and reflections, personal observations, and comparison of numerical scores from a mood inventory completed before and after each journaling session. Comparison of pre- and post-study artwork provided data on the overall effect of the study on emotional reactions to traumatic memories. Journaling sessions predominately produced short-term negative effects on mood, and comparison of mood inventory scores over time did not find a significant cumulative effect on mood. Recurrent themes/symbols identified issues through frequency of appearance but did not provide data related to improved mood or reduced posttraumatic stress symptoms. Comparison of pre- and post-study artwork rrevealed an overall positive effect on emotional reactions to 9/11-related stimuli.