Updated: Feb 3, 2021
Hello! Welcome to my mental health blog and my first blog post! I’m Stacy Lepley, expressive arts trauma therapist in Northeast Indiana, focusing on women's issues related to trauma. I’m hoping that my blog inspires, empowers and educates readers about many of the treatment approaches I’m passionate about, including Trauma-Informed Expressive Art Therapy, Polyvagal Theory, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Bilateral Stimulation (BLS), Embodiment and more. The majority of people are familiar with psychotherapy approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT), which are beneficial in treating trauma. But others, such as Expressive Arts Therapy and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, might sound unfamiliar to many of you.
What I have found in my counseling practice is that sometimes talk therapy is not enough to help clients heal from their traumatic experiences. That’s where a more in-depth approach, like Expressive Arts Therapy or Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, comes into play. I’m creating this blog to help people learn more about what would be considered non-traditional ways of dealing with trauma. I will share with you my enthusiasm for these approaches, and hope that you as a reader will be inspired to learn more and take away helpful tips and recommendations that you can put into practice at home, building resiliency, developing autonomy and self-actualization (one's essence or identify; felt sense of self).
But before we talk about each of these treatment approaches in future blog posts, I want to first share a little about how I became interested in these particular treatment approaches for trauma.
The reason I focus on trauma is that I want to help clients overcome painful experiences from their past and not be imprisoned by them. I too, am a "survivor thriver." My goal is to help clients regain their quality of life and to not let their traumatic experiences steal more of their well-being.
One of the first questions that clients who have experienced trauma ask me is: “How can I get over it?” Often, they struggle with anxiety and depression and want to stop feeling this way. These clients might also have intrusive thoughts, low self-esteem, and a pattern of having many unhealthy relationships (we will address this pattern in a future blog post). They want to feel better as quickly as possible.
Many clients expect all therapy to be talk therapy. But the fact is that traditional talk therapy doesn’t always work, especially for trauma. And sometimes people get discouraged when they don’t see rapid improvements from traditional talk therapy, but it’s important to remember that there are additional types of therapy, like Expressive Arts Therapy and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, that can be more effective for treating trauma. My blog will focus on psychoeducation (not to be mistaken for psychotherapy treatment), helpful tips and important resources for readers interested in learning more about trauma and how a variety of more non-traditional therapeutic modalities can help.
For example, I use Expressive Arts Therapy often in my practice. Expressive Art Therapy focuses on the entire spectrum of artistic forms, to include poetry, bibliotherapy, lyric writing, story writing, narrative therapy, music sounds, painting, sculpting, drawing, dance, and movement. Art therapy, in contrast, focuses on just one artistic form, such as painting, journaling or music. I like using Expressive Art Therapy because clients can gravitate to whatever art form most appeals to them. In other words, if I just told clients what to create, it wouldn’t have the same therapeutic effectiveness as when they choose on their own, this is an important step in developing autonomy, finding one's voice, and defining one's sense of self. I always tell clients that the point of Expressive Arts Therapy is to use it as a medium for healing—you don’t have to be artistically gifted to benefit from expressive arts therapy. The process is more important than the end product.
If you are interested in learning more about how I can help you heal from trauma, please contact me for a free consultation today, by calling 260-449-0489.