Crafting therapy is a form of therapy that I was not too familiar with a few years ago but my experience and background have led me to explore this area much more in-depth. My background is in forensic psychology, specializing in anti-human trafficking and trauma. Some of my training comes from sessions with the FBI, Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice. I am also certified in trauma, domestic violence, and domestic homicide. My work has included educating students in schools, mental health professionals, police officers, hotel workers, and survivors about human trafficking. During these educational sessions and conferences, I would conduct group art therapy. After the educational part of the session was completed, participants were asked to paint or draw their feelings and emotions towards human trafficking.
This was truly amazing to see because it showed the group's true feelings and raw emotions regarding what they learned and how they felt about these horrible crimes. As for the group sessions with survivors, it can be sad and yet deeply inspirational to see what they paint and to understand the background of why they painted it. Many survivors, take a long time to realize that they were a victim of human trafficking. When they start to understand and get a chance to put it down on a canvas, it can be a huge release of their emotions, feelings, and thoughts. Art therapy truly helps many survivors express themselves. Group art for the general public helps to form an individual and group understanding of the topic.
At the start of COVID-19, all of my group sessions were canceled. This bothered me because human trafficking cases were still on the rise. With everyone being at home it became much easier to abuse children because teachers and other adults were no longer having one on one contact with students. This made it harder to tell who needed help in their home life. More teens spent their free time on social media. This gave traffickers ample opportunity to hunt and groom their victims. Adults too were no exception. They became desperate for money and to provide for their families, which led them to put themselves in situations they normally would not have to find work.
For me, this was difficult to see and I felt as if I couldn’t do much from a distance. This made me think about ways that I could reach people in their own homes. The only problem I had to get around was helping individuals that think they are not creative or could not do art. I came across this quite often while working and I found that many of these people benefited from the group art therapy sessions because the group would help them get started on ideas they already had in mind. So now I asked myself how can I reach those types of people since I could not do group art therapy with them. This question led me down the path to crafting therapy.