themes in healing
Helping participants find a sense of safety by providing an inclusive and nonjudgmental atmosphere is a core purpose of Windows art workshops. At AWBW we believe creative expression is a human right, but it is a right that can only be exercised when we feel safe to be seen and heard in an authentic way.
As AWBW Training Facilitator, Tiombe Wallace, LMFT shares: “On an individual level, creating art in a safe and supported environment taps into our creative power to re-imagine our authentic experience and create a future in our own hands. On a community level it can create connections and foster a sense of belonging and possibility that grounds us and allows us to create change.”
The Windows philosophy invites a collaborative space, where facilitators co-create an environment with participants providing the safety needed to bring their whole self, including all of their intersecting identities, to the creative practice. For some participants the idea of a safe space feels like a foreign concept, as such, we acknowledge that and meet them right where they are at that moment. Our art workshop facilitators aim to provide safety and consistency by responding to each participant in an individual way.
Windows workshops are completely self-directed, a time for participants to feel empowered to make decisions and discoveries; process emotions and experiences; and explore their strengths, goals, and obstacles. As one of our art workshop facilitators shared, “The art sessions provide a critical window of safety to release pain that’s been trapped. It becomes a window of courage, a window of relief, even a window of joy.”
“This group is powerful, allowing us to share our innermost self in a safe place.”
–Windows Workshop Participant
We gather in the art workshops to share and honor our unique gifts and stories. These windows of time are a chance to look inside, to listen to our hearts, to notice our feelings and respect what needs to come out. As a result, participants are empowered to express thoughts and feelings, sometimes for the first time, without fear. This experience of safety supports participants in getting grounded in the present, regulating, connecting with their resilience, and creating a vision for their future.
While many healing modalities provide tools for survivors to carry forward, oftentimes we forget we have those tools when we need them most. Art serves an anchor for safety and a tangible reminder that everything we need is within us!
Want to build safety through art in the work you do?
Safe Home Worksheet: What does your safe home look, feel, sound, and smell like?
Community Agreements Worksheet: What agreements will help you feel safe?