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An Examination of Eco-Art Therapy-A Proposed Natural Modality for Treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - By Rebecca Wood- MFT Trainee

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Abstract

There exists room for improvement within the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Currently, there is good support that Eco-Art therapy is a viable complementary or alternative therapy treatment method for this condition. Eco-art therapy expands our client's awareness beyond a focus on the individual or family, or a cultural or social perspective to include the larger ecological systems as a source of both suffering and healing (American Art Therapy Association [AATA], 2014) It gives the therapist and client greater awareness of the context within which they are interacting. Another aspect of eco-art therapy is that Eco-art therapy is a form of positive psychology. It is a method full of optimism, gratitude, peace, meaning, and purpose. It marries art therapy and ecotherapy into a complex and emerging field (Pike, 2021). Although eco-art therapy is an under-researched and emerging area in the modern field of psychology there is a lot of promising support of its applications in the treatment of PTSD. Eco-art therapy can be described as combining concepts from ecopsychology with concepts of art therapy to create a unique modality that applies beyond the Eurocentric norms of many other modalities. Art therapy can help with negative emotions, stress responses, restricted affect, depression, anxiety, as well as some somatic responses. Through the containment of the outdoors and increase socialization many of our modern ailments may be alleviated. Adding awareness beyond oneself to include the Earth as a whole creates a deeper understanding of healing and suffering that can empower and validate the client.

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