A Visual Conversation with Trauma: The Use of Visual Journaling in Art Therapy to Combat Vicarious Trauma

Thumbnail Image
Gibson, Diana
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
Art therapists who work with trauma populations are at great risk of developing vicarious traumatization due to supporting those coping with pain. There is a gap in the research on how to prevent, treat, and heal from the traumatization of their therapeutic work with others, causing the resiliency and longevity of this particular group of therapists in the field to be in jeopardy. This study will examine the effectiveness of using a visual journal as a processing tool of the lived experience of this researcher in working with a trauma population of clients. Results collected confirm the ability of a visual journal to be an effective tool for resiliency, processing, and ethical boundaries between work and home. The study has shown that visual journaling is a powerful tool for all mental health professionals working with trauma populations in order to process vicarious traumatization and heal from it in an artistic form.