The Discovery of a trauma-informed BrainsmART Psychotherapy
The cross-modal creative arts treatment approach to trauma and emotional balance is a creative process for both client and clinician. BrainsmART Therapy is practiced through a series of creative exercises, meant to integrate and utilize the modes of perception - the visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and verbal modes of processing information. BrainsmART Therapy was designed over the course of twenty-five years and started as a way to re-process and de-sensitize the impact of performance stress on the mind and body of my piano students during competitive events.
My students learned how to focus on the felt-sense and imagery of their safe place while practicing and performing. With practice, this overrode the destabilizing impact of ‘being watched’ by an audience. They became expressive and calm with less anxiety and more technical control. I was fascinated, so I studied what was happening in the brain during these creative states of immersion. From my research, I developed a cross-modal exercise for envisioning a safe interior space that had the power to counteract the anxiety and scattered attention that weakened performance. I then decided to expand and apply this practice beyond my students, into the clinical world of trauma therapy.
The humble beginnings of a trauma informed BRAINsmART psychotherapy is grounded in the creative process. It is a process that enables people to access and reorganize overwhelming feelings and sensations associated with past memories and events. The body-mind can heal when we take power over the trauma narrative by creatively exploring the sensations and emotions of the event. I take special care in keeping this environment safe, controlled, and supportive at all times during sessions, as to avoid the potential of triggering another negative experience.