Expressive therapies are considered as effective intervention modalities with children who have experienced traumatic events such as natural disasters. Particularly, drawing consents to trauma-affected children to express their own emotions, as it allows them to convey the complexity of traumatic feelings, thoughts, perceptions, and memories, by giving them a shape and a frame of meaning. But the efficacy of art therapies with children exposed to natural disasters has not been research-proved. This chapter presents an exploratory and pilot study on the use of the specific technique “test de trois dessins: avant, pendant et avenir” (Three Pictures Test: Past, Present, and Future), which may accomplish the double function of diagnostic instrument, for detecting the presence of psychological trauma, and therapeutic technique, for facilitating recovery from psychological distress, with children exposed to natural disasters. The graphic tool has been employed with children victims of the Italian earthquake that affected the Italian region of Abruzzi on 6 April 2009. The sample was hosted in the two refugee camps set up by the Italian Civil Protection in two provinces of L’Aquila, Monticchio and Paganica. The case studies analysis illustrates the efficacy of the test both in detecting the presence and the extent of the psychological trauma and in enhancing the trauma recovery process. Further researches, which may use qualitative and quantitative methodological tools, need to be done in order to validate the use of the “Three Pictures Test: Past, Present, and Future” as a validated technique with children experiencing disasters. The scientific validation of the tool may provide art therapists with standard criteria that can be employed for detecting the presence of psychological trauma, in both graphic and verbal data. Furthermore, it may supply instructions on the most appropriate and effective practices that should be adopted for promoting the uncovering of traumatic memories and for fostering reintegration of the traumatic event in the child’s life story.
|Title of host publication||Child and Adolescent Mental Health|
|Number of pages||16|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|
- trauma, child, earthquake, drawing test, test de trois dessins