How I Used Art to Get Through Trauma

Often, people choose to write about trauma, since it’s “the most common form of expression,” Dr. Ursano said. But, drawing and painting are equally valid forms of expression also used by patients. What’s most important is that a patient is comfortable with the medium.

Image
Old Man Looking out the Front of the Train, by Terry Sullivan, approx. 8½ ” x 11″ , pencil on paper, 1995-97. Copyright © Terry Sullivan. Used by permission of the artist.

In my still-life painting, perhaps I was using the canvas to visually piece together fragments of personal memories, emotions, and fears during this time. Yes, it’s a disjointed composition that still disturbs me today, but it may accurately reflect the feelings I had at the time.

The still life wasn’t the only work I created. Between…

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