Content Warning:  This post deals with the topic of domestic violence and may be distressing for some readers.

Despite an unstable family environment due to domestic violence and housing insecurity, Talia* was a resilient and creative child but struggled to feel safe, which can be common for children impacted by adversity and toxic stress.

The sensory, non-verbal ‘Safe Place Activity’ is used by our Art Therapists to help children like Talia tell their story, explore how their world feels and learn to nurture themselves.

At her first session, we provided Talia with an animal figurine and art supplies and invited her to create a safe place for her figurine. This activity was repeated at Week 10. The box depicted in the top image, is the safe place that Talia created for her giraffe figurine in the first week. The box on the bottom is what she created at the end of the program.

This specific activity was helpful for Talia because although things at home might still be unstable, after several weeks of therapy she was able to experience safety and connection in a new and positive way.

*At KidsXpress we respect the privacy of the children and families we support. So while their stories are true, stock images of children have been used and client names have been changed.

Week 1 (Left)

Talia’s box was tightly bound as sealed as she struggled to imagine a safe, open space for her figurine.

Week 2 (Right)

By the end of the program, Talia was able to actualize a new way of safety and care.