This February I showed Celtic Art Therapy at the Serene Connections Evolution of Addiction Treatment conference in Los Angeles. As is often the case, Celtic Art Therapy was very well received, and three treatment facilities made bulk purchases for their group therapy sessions.
It was at this conference that I started focusing on using Celtic Art Therapy as a conditioning focus for associated behavioral modification. I’ve suggested this technique for schools with stress test takers, but I began to encourage the therapists to have their patients trace the CAT plates while working them through addiction management techniques. Then, when a patient experiences the triggers that lead to the addictive behavior, they could stop and visually picture the Celtic Art Therapy designs. Hopefully the associated addiction management techniques will come to mind and allow the patient to change their behavior.
I believe that this use for Celtic Art Therapy can be effective with a number of conditions, including anxiety, anger and PTSD management. Please blog your thoughts.
I discovered some time ago that Celtic Art Therapy was an effective tool to use with anxiety, especially when introducing creative visualizations into the process. For example, having a subject trace a Celtic Art Therapy design, such as the Blue Trinity Knot, allows the subject to isolate visual and tactile stimuli resulting in an easy absorption of mental visuals. One of my favorites is, “Imagine a world of waterfalls all around. Stress comes at you, but is caught in the water where it is blurred, obscured and washed downstream.”
However, showing Celtic Art Therapy at the Colorado Renaissance Festival allowed me to work with some veterans and other men suffering from PTSD. I was pleased to discover the ease with which a man, especially a military man, used Celtic Art Therapy. I soon noticed that it was a non-threatening way for a highly trained individual to slip into a slightly altered state without any “know-it-all Shrink giving him a lot of psycho-babble junk on how he’s supposed to feel”.
Men simply traced. The Celtic Wolf and Celtic Cross designs were particularly useful because they have a ‘masculine’ feel. Also surprising was the ease with which these men absorbed creative visualization. With vets, I used, “Imagine a room of shadow boxes. Take the memory that is plaguing you and place it in a box. You can still see it, it’s still there. You haven’t suppressed it, but it can’t mess with you – not while you’re tracing. It doesn’t own you any longer. It’s your brain. Take it back.”
I also interjected some expletives to bolster self-confidence, but I won’t use colorful language in this blog.
The result in a few moment’s time was men who noticeably reacted to Celtic Art Therapy in conjunction with creative visualization. I saw their bodies relax, and when loud noises called them away from the experience, the longer they traced the easier it was for them to return to tracing after identifying the source of the noise.
I believe that Celtic Art Therapy has a definite place in the tools available to clinical professionals who work with wounded warriors and others suffering from PTSD. It facilitates an easy transition into a lightly-altered state where a therapist can guide a patient into a session using a variety of audio stimuli, especially creative visualization.
I intend to design some ‘military themed’ Celtic Art Therapy pieces including an American Eagle surrounded by Celtic knots and a Liberty Torch composed of Celtic knots. I look forward to making my work available to psychiatrists and psychologists associated with the Veteran’s Administration and to therapists who work with mental trauma and suppressed memories.