By Anne Bannister
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Additional info for Creative Therapies With Traumatized Children
DID is an extreme form of dissociation. As I have noted in the discussion on child development, our primary experiences are sensory rather than verbal and it may be that early experiences of sexual abuse are retained in sensory memory and cannot be expressed verbally but only somatically. ’ It is noticeable in clinical work that many abused children suffer from somatic complaints such as headaches, stomach pains, problems of incontinence or bowel problems. Work has been done on the latter by Dr G.
It is certainly feasible that the group therapy did not show immediate results, that it needed time and maturation to be effective. We do not know what the behaviour was that was being changed by behavioural modification. For instance, these methods are sometimes used effectively with symptoms such as bedwetting. However, bedwetting can sometimes be a sign of distress in a traumatized child. This subsides as the child learns other coping behaviours. CREATIVE THERAPIES AND THEIR USES 51 Trauma and reparative treatment It is helpful to look at studies which show the likely effects of trauma on child development and how these effects may be overcome with treatment which mimics aspects of child development in a positive, reparative way.
Writing about work with adolescents, dramatherapist Renee Emunah (1995) also stresses ‘identity cohesion’ and the opportunity to express different roles. She also discusses the ease with which dramatherapy sessions can move to psychodrama and vice versa. Adolescents may prefer to begin working, within dramatherapy, on a hypothetical abuse situation and move to a specific situation, from their own lives, in psychodrama. Thus the ability to be flexible within the creative therapies is important. 52 CREATIVE THERAPIES WITH TRAUMATIZED CHILDREN A similar approach is used by Peter Pitzele (1991), describing his psychodramatic groupwork with adolescents in an inpatient psychiatric setting.