Healing Trauma With Art

Hello Friends,

For the past couple of months I’ve been working with an excellent trauma coach to release past trauma from my body. Trauma gets stored in the nervous system, and can contribute to all sorts of physical and emotional complaints.

I’ve had health issues for most of my life that seem to stem from an oversensitivity to everything — foods, chemicals, electromagnetic radiation, the environment, sounds, touch, smells, etc. I react to everything, and my body goes haywire producing a plethora of painful and debilitating symptoms.

New scientific research has discovered that the likely cause of this sort of overreaction is past trauma. Even though I’m not consciously aware of the trauma, it’s apparently affecting my body.

In my case, I don’t remember any big trauma in my life. We all have traumas that we have to deal with, and I’m no different in that way. Since I don’t have any memory of major trauma, my trauma coach suggested that I use art therapy as a way to explore unconscious feelings.

I decided to use collage as my medium for the exploration, because there are so many wonderful images in magazines that evoke emotion. I looked for images that spoke to me, and then built each piece around a central theme.

These pieces are each 14 x 11 inches, collage on wood panel. I used the symbol of the heart to depict love and compassion for myself while dealing with difficult circumstances. Hearts often appear in my collage work. Click on the images to see them in a browser.

This first piece speaks to a feeling of being between worlds — one foot in this world, and one foot somewhere else. Not being fully present. Maybe not of this world, or not fully incarnated.

Cassandra Tondro collage

The second piece is about being a lone voice in a lonely world. Not believed, not heard, not seen and not understood. Feeling alone. The sanded-down text and splatter in the background is the noisy chatter of the outside world around me.

Cassandra Tondro collage

The final piece is hard for me to even look at, and I debated whether or not to use this image. It’s a pig in a stockyard squeezed into a tiny space with a lot of other pigs. That’s how these animals are treated and raised. It’s painful for me to see, but I used it because it’s a powerful image about suffering. The look on the pig’s face breaks my heart.

Cassandra Tondro collage

I think the trauma release work is helping in a way that no other treatment has. I feel like I have more energy and less pain, and I’m hopeful that I might someday be able to have a more normal life.

Have you ever used art as therapy to help you understand your emotions? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us hin the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,
Cassandra

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10 Comments

  1. Dear Cassandra
    Thank you for your open words, they really touched my heart. That you‘ve found a way that helps you is wonderfull! I wish you all the best!
    Greetings from Switzerland
    Karin

  2. Thanks for sharing Cassandra your work on art therapy. I also enjoyed your write up about trauma and expressing your emotions through collage. I think I need to do that right now. We have just been told our beautiful home is illegal and due to be demolished. We feel quite traumatised. Thanks for sharing the work you do. It is good for us artists to feel connection with each other. Xx

    1. Hi Shona. Your home has been declared illegal? How awful! I’m so sorry. That definitely sounds traumatizing, and I hope you find a way through it with ease. Wishing you all the best for this difficult time.

  3. I have been a student of ( and now a teacher of ) Cosmic Smashbooking for the past 2 years. And this kind of intentional creativity has been a powerful tool and meditation art practice to heal emotions and physicsl body, explore and heal ancestral trauma, get though grief and betrayal as well as bring back my childhood desire to do art and consider myself an artist with creativity and intention as my guide. This kind of art is powerful!

    1. Thanks, Chris. In the bird collage I’m playing around with those punched circles, which you may have seen on some of my previous work. I’m really enjoying the two circle-shaped paper punches that I have! I just wish they were better quality. They tend to jam and then break if the paper is either too thin or too thick. Narrow range of acceptibility.

  4. Always enjoy your art and writings. The piece of the little pig is heartbreaking. I will never forget him. This image could save lives. Share with animal groups etc. It was hard to see but you did good. His face, His life deserve it♡
    Sharlene Sullivan

    1. Thanks, Sharlene. It was hard for me to make the pig piece. At first I thought I shouldn’t use the pig, but then I felt that i had to, precisely because it’s hard to look at. I am involvd with several animal rights groups, and I’ll see if they’re interested. Good suggestion!

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