Childhood trauma has a profound effect in the Australian community – and its impacts are felt by everyone. The long term effects of childhood trauma are often the most visible: broken relationships and families, violence, abuse & neglect, homelessness, drug and alcohol dependence, mental illness, and unemployment. These can often be linked back to the impacts of unresolved childhood trauma. But with early and appropriate intervention – these impacts can be managed and minimised.
KidsXpress was created to help deal with these problems. Our expressive therapy program is underpinned by an understanding of the importance of early intervention, the transformative power of expressive therapies, creativity, and play, and the incredible ability of the brain to change itself (‘brain plasticity’). For children with limited language skills and vocabularies, and particularly for children impacted by trauma who may be unable to put ideas into speech, expression through art, music, movement, or play empowers them to express themselves without the need for words.
Our expressive therapy program gives children the experience of doing, making, and creating – to help energise, redirect attention and focus, and alleviate emotional stress. This allows children to fully concentrate on issues, goals, and behaviors. Expressive therapies promote active participation, and are sensory in nature – helping children to engage their imagination, mind and their body, rather than simply engaging their cognitive abilities. By augmenting creative and imaginative thinking, expressive therapies help to generate self expression, experimentation, and subsequent verbal reflection. Developments in neuroscience also indicate that this can allow the brain to establish new, more productive patterns.
The creative modalities we use in our therapy space help children to move beyond their preconceived beliefs through experimentation with new ways of communication and experiences that involve ‘pretend’. The imaginative thinking needed to make a drawing, create a movement, write a story, write songs and make music open children up to the possibility of trying out inventive and imaginative solution, and bringing their creative resources to old problems, difficulties, and challenges.
KidsXpress’ group therapy approach is also core to its success. Children are placed in groups of 4 to 6 – with similar ages and referral issues. This helps children to realise they are not alone in their experiences. Our groups take a very collaborative approach to therapy – with the whole group moving through the therapy space together, through each of the creative modalities with all three of the therapists. This allows children to build and develop meaningful connections with one another and the therapists.