A Window Between Worlds follows a trauma-informed approach,* acknowledging that trauma is prevalent and the impacts are far reaching. Trauma experiences, trauma responses and healing do not occur in isolation but in the context of the person, family and community. Our goal is to provide a resource — the opportunity to create art in a safe environment — that can empower individuals and communities throughout the healing process.
The hands-on creation of art has been shown to reduce distress, increase self-reflection and self-awareness, alter behavior and thinking patterns, have positive physical effects and build resilience** — all of which play a key role in life transformation. In addition, coming together in an understanding and supportive community provides the atmosphere needed for recovery from violent and traumatic experiences.***
Creating art, particularly in community, can open windows of safety, self-expression and connection that those who have been affected by violence and trauma may not experience through other processes or in other settings. We understand that trauma survivors are the experts of their own experiences and that the adaptations made to survive, manage and overcome traumas happen by pulling on strengths and wisdom from within. Creating art can help uncover and develop these internal resources.
In order to provide workshops that are accessible, impactful and relevant to all participants, AWBW has cultivated a Community of Practice by partnering with human service agencies across the country. Staff already working at these organizations are trained by AWBW and receive ongoing support as they facilitate our arts curriculum. They also share successes, challenges and innovations back to AWBW, which are then shared with the rest of the network to strengthen our collective expertise.
Though our approach may be similar to that used by art therapists, A Window Between Worlds is not art therapy. Art therapy is conducted by a credentialed therapist who has been trained extensively in psychology and the arts. As art therapy is often not accessible or affordable in many places, we are a resource for facilitators to provide art as a healing tool in a safe and productive way.