Integrated in 10 BRC programs, including the Boulevard Residence, Casa de Los Vecinos, Cecil Ivory House, Clyde Burton House, Fred Cooper Substance Abuse Services Center (SASC), Fulton House, Hand Up Safe Haven, Metropolitan Apartment Program (MAP), Reception Center and Sadiqua Khabir House, BRC’s Art Therapy Program provides clients the opportunity to reduce stress, develop self-awareness and build self-esteem through creativity.
The hands-on process of creating art, allows clients to cultivate a deeper understanding of, and empathy towards, others while gaining insight into problem areas in their lives. Art therapy helps people work through painful emotions and makes meaning of experiences that are difficult to articulate.
“When a client discovers their creative voice, there is an inherent dignity, vitality and empowerment within that experience which is transformative. Art therapy helps facilitate this.” – Saera Little, MA, ATR, LCAT, Creative Arts Coordinator, BRC Reception Center
Groups, as small as two to as large as 12, allows clients to work on socialization skills and other skills in including:
- Problem solving
- Impulse control
- Finding a positive sense of self
- Gaining a sense of calm
All of these tools can help clients with many of the facets of their journey out of homelessness including the skills needed to interview for permanent housing.
“Seeing our clients’ progress in Art Therapy is what keeps us going. To see a client come to a session for the first time, apprehensive to use art materials, transition to an artist over time is truly exciting and meaningful.” - Susan Pustilnik, MA, ATR-BC, LCAT, Art Therapist, BRC Casa de Los Vecinos, Cecil Ivory House, Clyde Burton House, Fulton House, MAP, and Sadiqua Khabir House
Creativity is a valuable tool in all kinds of recovery from trauma to substance abuse. As a person stops using drugs or alcohol, there needs to be something that can be substituted and art and creativity is a healthy replacement.
Regarding trauma, art helps people work though their emotional past without necessarily articulating things that can be very difficult to express.
“BRC’s Art Therapy program continues to create positive human interaction. This is particularly meaningful for our clients with past trauma and a history of homelessness.” – Christi Meyer, MA, LCAT, ATR-BC, Art Therapist/Clinical Supervisor, BRC Boulevard Residence
Clients choose the media they work in ranging from collage, photography, sculpture, painting, drawing, mosaic tiles and printmaking.
Group discussions can be part of the art making process and clients are encouraged to share and reflect upon their work, thereby gaining insight into themselves as well as others.
BRC also provides many clients the opportunity to display their art in BRC programs and public settings—elevating clients’ self-esteem and providing a platform to show their hard work and growth.
“We are serving a very underserved population that has gone through many life struggles. Through Art Therapy group sessions, we’re providing a non-judgmental and warm environment to help them channel their creativity as part of their recovery.” – Toru Takada, LMSW, CASC, LCAT, Art Therapist/Case Manager/Substance Abuse Counselor, BRC SASC
Creativity humanizes all people, and people who have been marginalized need safe, supportive spaces to feel valued and validated.