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Art Therapy and Complex Trauma

According to Psychotherapist and Art Therapist, Dr. E Roo Kim, approximately 25% of children will experience trauma at some point early on in life.

Learning the effects it has on children is essential to understanding why we equip them with coping tools such as art therapy.

Complex trauma, such as the experience of racism and homelessness, has a life-long effect on children. Once multiple traumas are layered, children tend to incorporate a defense mechanism into their personality that carries over into adulthood.

Art projects expressing trauma often invisible to the eye.
Art projects expressing trauma often invisible to the eye.

Childhood trauma often leads to adults trapped in the cycle of poverty.

Dr. Kim’s study found that art therapy is a means of processing and discovering feelings because of how “action-oriented” and “sensory” it is (Kim, 2018, p.9). Furthermore, art therapy left children feeling “active” and “empowered” (Kim, 2018, p.9).

We have witnessed this transformation first hand through our programs.

Based on our seven core competencies, written by staff art therapists, our curriculum addresses the trauma children dealing with poverty and homelessness endure and equips them with the tools necessary to overcome it.

To learn more about our programs and how you can aid in combating childhood trauma visit our contribute page.


Kim, E. (2018). Art therapy with homeless children: Role of art therapy on complex trauma event. Expressive Therapies Capstone Theses, (96). 1-28.

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Jul 20, 2021

drawchange really drives value to help more children have access to arts 🎨

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