Greeting from HKAAT！
For many, Spring is a month of joyous time as the warm weather announces the arrival growth, outdoor funs, icy treats, vacations, and making new year resolutions. Yet, for some, the past half a year could be a traumatic memory as events from past or recent days might have kept tearing people’s mind, breaking their identity, or affecting their relationships with others. Inevitably the older we get, the more likely we would experience different forms of trauma in life. Therefore, HKAAT has planned and will continue to provide support group to address the issues of trauma.
So what is trauma? Trauma can be experienced individually and collectively and its definition and intensity varies. Yet most schools would agree upon on any event that directly or indirectly causes a person to experience intolerable physical or psychological pain and anxiety can be defined as trauma. Individual trauma could break the victims’ physical and psychological wholeness, cause anxiety, depressed mood, inability to build trust or establish relationship, flashback, and potential neuropsychological damage to process cognitively. And when the experience became too overwhelmed to manage, some might develop PTSD and some might develop unhealthy coping skills such as substance abuse or eating disorder as ways to regain a sense of control over their traumatic experiences.
Collective trauma happens when an entire society experience or witness a catastrophic event that shatters the baseline of security of the society. It can be induced by natural disasters, wars, social injustice, or others undesirable factors. And victims of collective trauma bear collective memory that could pass on to generations if it is unresolved and collectively people of the society continue to reconstruct the trauma in different forms in order to make sense of it.
Trauma victims might not be able to find closure with their experiences if the perpetrators never recognize their behavior nor taking responsibility or bearing the consequence on their acts. Yet, trauma can be cured and symptoms can be alleviated from suitable psychotherapy, social support, and medical treatment. In recent times, neurologists have closely worked with art therapists and proved that art making could sooth traumatized brains and making art allows victims to regain sense of control, hope, and reconstruct their self and ego.
Art therapy has been widely used in the US and the UK to help trauma victims. Many art therapists are working in schools, hospitals, shelters, community centers, and counseling centers to serve bully victims, veterans from war, survivors from domestic violence households, and sexual assaulted victims. Locally, our professional members have established art therapy trauma services in their respective agencies to serve those in needs.
HKAAT was originally formed 16 years ago to educate the general public on what art therapy is. In the aim of implementing more resources and improving our mission, HKAAT is proud to announce that we will be providing professional continue education to our allied professions. HKAAT has invited Ms Michelle Dean, director of the Graduate Art therapy program of Cedar Crest College, USA, a nationally recognized expert in treating individuals who have eating disorders and complex trauma to provide professional training and supervision groups for psychotherapists and allied health professions on how to use art to work with people who experience trauma on September 25th, 27th and 28th 2019. No one deserves to experience trauma. Yet if it has happened, as art therapists, we can look upon on the healing power of art and creativity that can bring light to people when they are in the midst of the darkness.
Lastly, it is time to say farewell. It has been an honor to serve HKAAT and be the editor of the newsletter in the past 6 years. No society or organization can move on without generational transition. HKAAT embraces the new generation’s input and we are grateful to have 3 additional Exco members, Ms Gigi Leung, Sally Shih, and Abbie to bring us innovative ideas and directions. With the support of many forerunners and the energy from the newcomers, HKAAT is looking forward to the exciting future and hope you all will continue to support HKAAT’s future events and development.
Best wishes and farewell
HoiLam Tang, MS, ATR.
Editor of the Newsletter
As the world at large is looking for a way to get through this time of great challenges from 2019 all through 2020. It is our hope to continue to provide resource to productively use these difficult times for growth and healing, We hope to empower you with Arts and healing to build a conscious community together into a bright future!
Q and A with Art Therapists (March 2019)
K11 Me Time Series x HKAAT (April 2019)
Heart to Heart Carnival (April 2019)
AGM + Pre-workshop (June 2019)
International Art Therapy Conference in London
Emergency Support Group in Hong Kong
#ArtRecharge for community healing (July 2019- current)
K11 x HKAAT: A Vibrant Reflection of Beauty (Dec 2019)
Q and A: Meet the Art Thearpists (Jan 2020)
So if you don't want to miss our events, stay tune with our FB and website for all upcoming events. We hope to bring to you healing and love with our events, looking forward to see you all in the future.
Roni Heung is an Canadian Trained Art therapist who is currently serving in a NGO in Hong Kong.
Book review by HoiLam TangCatherine Hyland Moon