When you think about how people heal from trauma, I am guessing you picture a person sitting across from a therapist spending many hours talking.
But what if I told you it could also look like that person getting their hands dirty in a garden, pulling carrots – or strumming a guitar – or simply drawing a picture. And it’s true.
At Hull Services, these experiences are what we call enhancement activities. And we offer them to our young people through various programs. The programs can teach anything from art to music to gardening to pottery. And these enhancement programs can have immense impact on how our young people heal from developmental trauma and offer great therapeutic value.
This national Mental Health Week, you can give our young people these life-changing enhancement programs by donating today.
Art and recreation services are sensory-rich therapeutic experiences that are highly regulating and offer a safe space for our young people to process big emotions. Being regulated is essential to moving forward in their healing journey.
Once they’re regulated, they can begin to learn important life skills like self-control and problem-solving. In fact, these programs can be so good at regulating our young people, that it amplifies the effect of their primary treatment.
Nicole Chalifour has been working at Hull Services since 2018 beginning as a Child and Youth Care Counselor; she is currently enrolled in an art therapy diploma program and close to finishing a 700-hour art therapy internship with us.
She has almost 700 hours worth of first-hand experience on just how impactful her art therapy program has been for our young people.
“I’ve seen so many young people feeling resistant to therapy or getting those types of supports, because it can feel unapproachable and vulnerable, especially because of past experiences and trauma,” says Chalifour. “I’ve seen many of the youth’s confidence and sense of empowerment grow during our time together. Whether it’s confidence in their artmaking and showing their art to others, showing strength by being vulnerable and sharing their experiences, or finding more qualities they admire about themselves.”
These enhancement programs offer skills and activities our young people can do with their families and bring back to their community – all important ways to connect and regulate long past their time here with us.
Our young people are counting on you this national Mental Health Week to gift them all the opportunities possible to live happy and healthy lives.
The next time you’re engaging in your favourite activity, know what you’re doing isn’t just simply that, it’s also having long-lasting, positive impacts on your life. You may not call it therapy, but it could be.