'Not just for people with big problems': How art therapy can unlock hidden trauma – CNA


One of the biggest takeaways for Deanna is that therapy is not just “for people with big traumas and big problems”. It can benefit even those with “very simple” problems like difficulty sleeping or overachieving, which could have its roots in childhood trauma. 

“There are a lot of things that, as we grow up, we keep sweeping under the rug,” she said. 

And while some may fear revisiting skeletons in the closet or reopening a chapter that has supposedly been closed, Deanna thinks “it must be done” or “it will keep popping up in other ways in your life”.   

“When things happen to you, it’s painful, traumatic,” said Buvenasvari. “Either you suppress it or you think you have healed from it, so you don’t want to revisit it. But it’s there. Why is it so difficult for you to look at it again? It means that it’s still affecting you in one way or another.” 

Buvenasvari is happiest when she sees clients being able to verbalise their issues without feeling overwhelmed. That, to her, is a mark of “successful healing”. 

“When you really process your trauma, it is no longer a skeleton in the closet. It’s just an old T-shirt.”

Where to get help:

Samaritans of Singapore Hotline: 1767 221 4444

Institute of Mental Health’s Helpline: 6389 2222

Singapore Association of Mental Health Helpline: 1800 283 7019

You can also find a list of international helplines here. If someone you know is at immediate risk, call 24-hour emergency medical services.


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