PTSD Diagnosis and Recovery: A Personal and Spiritual Perspective, Part 3
About the workshop video: This is Part 3 of a 5 part series. The page to the series can be found here: PTSD series.
This video addresses how abuse and trauma effect the brain; hyperarousal; dissociation, setting boundaries; coping skills to deal with those issues; and types of therapies that can help. I provided relevant scriptures related to the topics and explained the recovery process from a spiritual perspective. I spoke for nearly an hour and a half.
After watching the video please listen to this song below by Deluge called, “Healing is Here.”
My personal reflections on the workshop: Well, the workshop was amazing! I didn’t expect a lot of people because there was a conference happening from 9-4pm elsewhere and I expected at least 2 of my regulars to be at the conference. My workshop had been pushed back 2 weeks because I had been sick with covid… But I did have a decent sized group of 8 people, and one extra who popped in briefly after the conference.
Art project: Declarative Zentangle
Directive: The art project is to create a zentangle with a one word prophetic declaration over your life of something you want God to bring you and you have faith to receive. You really could use a phrase or a scripture as well, but it might be more tricky planning the space for it.
Materials: Paper: Any size or shape works or type of paper, but make sure its big enough to add your word. We used 8×8 inches. Keep in mind the bigger the paper the longer its going to take to finish. If you want to add watercolor or anything water soluble with water, I recommend using watercolor paper. I found a whole 8×8 watercolor pad at Walmart for cheap. You’ll also need sharpies or pens, and if you desire, something to add color such as markers, pens, crayons, watercolors, oil pastels, colored pencils, etc. My group really loved the watercolor pencils and regular watercolors the most, although some used gel pens.
The therapeutic value of the project: Creating zentangles can help you relax by calming your central nervous system by doing something that is repetitive. Also, creating art in general helps connect your brain to the physical activity you are doing which helps you get past feeling “stuck” in a hyperaroused or anxious state and gets you feeling more connected to yourself. The repetition and line making helps you feel grounded and it also helps you remain in the present moment so that you are not thinking about your past or worrying about your future. We call that “mindfulness,” and you’ll notice your anxiety start to calm after practicing it. There are other ways to practice mindfulness. This form of art making is just one example. Also, by creating a proclamation or declarative word in the art we are becoming more connected to that word and thus more likely to really believe it and achieve it.
Job 22:28 NKJV says, “You will also declare a thing, And it will be established for you; So light will shine on your ways.”
If there is power in our declarations how much more power is there when we also use our whole bodies to make art about it?
The very first step is to put four dots on each corner a bit away from the edge, then connect the dots with a line to create a border. The four dots just provide more structure/order and the border symbolically helps you to feel safer and your emotions to feel more contained. It doesnt have to be a straight line, because slight imperfections sometimes make the zentangle more personal, but if you’re particular you can use a straight edge or a ruler. We used a thick, black sharpie for this, although it could be done in any color you want. Sharpies seem to work best, but you can use any kind of pen. Please note that sharpies are water resistant which means you can paint over them or add water and the color won’t bleed. Most markers are water soluble which means it will bleed if you add paint or water. Gel pens or other types of colored pens sometimes bleed just a little, depending on the type you use.
Next, choose your word and write it on there with bubble letters. If you dont know how to make bubble letters write it normally then trace all around the letters leaving just a tiny bit of space from your line, like a cm., depending on how thick you want your letters. When you finish you can erase your inside lines. If you want you can just write it normally or keep going over your lines to make them thicker with your marker or sharpie. I recommend doing your word in pencil first until you get the spacing and lettering satisfactory. I recommend that the word be centered on the paper, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Ultimately, it’s your art so you can make it how you want.
Following this you will develop your zentangle further by creating different sections and divisions on the paper. The easiest was to do this is to start drawing lines across the paper in different directions. They can be straight, curvy, or loopy. You could also draw one giant string like line, but of course being careful to preserve your word and not draw lines through it. You could also draw various shapes, or flowers to divide your space into sections. I recommend drawing anything more complicated or that you want to be even or symmetrical out in pencil first, although otherwise I would use your pen or sharpie right away for the rest of it because otherwise it could take you forever to retrace the entire zentangle in pencil using your sharpie or pen. From your word or shapes you can draw further lines to divide the rest of the space. Please see the gallery photos for reference.
Once you have various sections or divisions of space, the next step is to draw a design of different lines in each section.
What makes it a zentangle is that there is a lot of repetition of the lines or elements drawn and there is also a lot of detail. These could be simple lines or shapes or more complicated design structures. I had a few zentangle coloring sheets as references and to inspire, which you could also use, but its totally not necessary to know what you’re doing or have a reference. Your design elements can be as simple as dots, circles, squares, plaids, straight lines, dotted lines, curvy lines, etc. You can also build on your lines or shapes. For instance you can draw a circle around a circle or another line matching the same line next to it (for instance one straight line becomes 2 straight lines). Those are called “echo” lines and zentangles are full of them. From there you could add tiny triangles all around the circle, and from there, straight lines extending to the end of your section from the tops of the triangle. That’s just one example, but my point is that the possibilities are endless. The general idea is to have a different pattern or design in each of the sections, but you could certainly include the same design in a different section, but I’d recommend spacing it a little further away.
Response to the art making: Apparently, we all needed this particular art task!!! We were there for 4 hours just with the art making! No one wanted to leave!!! I don’t have that kind of luxury at the psychiatric hospital where I practice art therapy with 45 minute groups! The Psalms 102 ministry group was so absorbed in what they were doing. You could just tell, it’s what they needed. We had a nice conversation, too.
My response to the group art making experience: I love how Pastor Ray designed the tables so that when we sit we are all facing eachother. Six to eight people is the perfect size group. I can have up to 20 at the hospital. The art making experience at the workshop is really the ultimate group set up and experience for an art therapist so I enjoy it, although I’m usually drained for days following the workshop because I typically lose a lot of sleep preparing, and the teaching/preaching followed by the art making can be exhausting. It’s all free to the public, at least for now, as long as I can afford it. I buy all the supplies myself, although I did get a bit of money from the church to start with, and I sometimes get donations. I tend to be slightly extravagant with the art supplies so I dont want to ask the church to reimburse me for that, but my group loves it! I’m trusting God that if the group ever got really big that I’d be able to afford it. We would probably have to cut it off at 20 maximum just to manage spacing and logistics. For now, that doesn’t seem to be an issue. I have not advertised this much on social media just to make it easier to manage, because we usually have about 7 on average without me doing so. We welcome anyone to come, though.
It feels really good to do what God called me to do, especially something so unique. I feel like I am able to utilize all my giftings in this ministry. I love serving the Lord in this way!
I’m so excited because in one week I will be officially licensed to minister the gospel as a result of doing these workshops since February.
Pictures and video are below:
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