"I will take care of myself and also challenge myself as much as I feel comfortable...I am a creative and artistic being...I give myself permission to have fun." As the group of thirty-some trainees declared these and other group norms, we all used our hands and arms to embody the messages, ending with a fun, little boogie.
This group, including four Krista Colleagues (Claire Smith '12, Kara King ‘06, Karolina Wright-Williams, ‘01, and Angie Merrill, '05), gathered together in Fremont for three full days of questions, creativity, reflection, and skills-building with First Aid Arts. The training centered on the Healing Arts Toolkit (HAT)- a box with an abundance of art supplies and facilitator resources - and encouraged participants to reflect deeply upon trauma-informed care, engage in arts-based therapeutic activities, design culturally appropriate adaptations, and practice self-care in a variety of settings.
Krista Colleagues (from left): Angie Merrill '05, Karolina Wright-Williams '01, Claire Smith '12, and Kara King '06
Some of the thoughts shared by the Colleagues that attended:
Why did you want to participate in this training? What goals or hopes did you bring with you?
I wanted to participate in the First Aid Arts HAT Training because the more I work with clients who have experienced trauma, the more I recognize how much we carry that trauma in our bodies and how it is not always accessible verbally. I believe art, in all forms, is a powerful modality for healing and I want to learn more as a therapist in how to use these tools with my clients.
~ Karolina Wright-Williams
I came into this training for myself and for the Krista Foundation. I, personally, wanted to build some arts-based healing skills to (hopefully) use in a future, as-yet-unknown job, and I also wanted to bring the skills into the KFGC. Many Colleagues could use these resources in their service and work, so I wanted to make the toolkit and knowledge available. Also, I think that, in their lives of service leadership, Colleagues need to tend our resilience and heal from traumas (both direct and vicarious) that we have experienced. As the Service Ethics coordinator on the Colleague Council, I approached the training as a tool to share so that we can all serve well. ~Claire Smith
Claire Smith '12
What "take aways" did you gather? Skills? Moments? Ideas? Insights?
What did you appreciate about it? Highlights? Challenges?
I appreciated the focus on the training objectives - Emotion regulation, Self-awareness, and Interpersonal skills - and the time taken to reflect on how they are being achieved in each activity.
~ Angie Merrill
Part of the training was learning to find and use the "lowest level of creative risk" to begin our activities, thus giving more people the ability to engage. In my work with young adults who have suffered complex trauma, this facilitation technique is going to be so helpful. It gives access to people who may otherwise disengage (for many motives) a door into the activity. Because we not only learned about the activities, but participated in them, I was able to have this experience myself - and that lowest level of risk allowed me to take deeper risks as we moved further into the training.
Something we did in the workshop was to shout out, "Arugula!" when a mistake was made, and this was an experiential reminder to celebrate failure as a community and to normalize mistakes. Part of my work is loving our kids and caring for them during the day, so I hope to translate this idea and to create a word for our family to use, both as a way to teach our kids this concept and to remind us as parents to model that.
I was reminded, again, of the importance of choice for survivors of trauma. Choice is embedded in the Toolkit activities, and I am reminded to be intentional in offering choice as we move through these activities which can bring up so much for survivors.
~Kara King What does Resilience mean to you? Why does it matter?
I see resilience as both the capacity to endure/survive and the ability to return to a place of stability. I think of a line from Jane Hirschfield's poem, "...the sinuous tenacity of a tree: finding the light newly blocked on one side, it turns in another." Resiliency is not an easy road and often involves pain and working through the hard stuff.
I think of resilience as the miraculous ability that humans have to recuperate and regain balance in the midst of crisis. I believe we all have it throughout our lives, and it can be tended with self-care and community support. It matters for individuals and communities because it keeps us from breaking under the weight of the world, and it matters for organizations because it is a reminder to honor the strength and spirit of those being served, and to conduct service in a way the supports the rebuilding of self instead of re-traumatizing.
The Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship now has a First Aid Arts toolkit, which we will be incorporating into events for Colleagues and checking out to Colleagues with prior therapy training.
Keep an eye out for more resilience, trauma-informed care, arts-based healing, and trainings coordinated by KFGC's Service Ethics team