This site makes use of cookies to help improve our understanding of how you use the site.

When less is more: Using an attachment-based model in a brief art therapy intervention with complex trauma

19 September 2017

How can art therapists adapt their practice to ensure that children receive timely and effective treatment?... Mary Rose Brady at the 2017 Attachment & the Arts conference



The sharp spike in children’s mental health issues as a result of complex trauma and within a context of budget cuts means that many are placed on waiting lists whilst their problems worsen; some are denied a service altogether. In order to support with the scale and severity of this crisis how can art therapists adapt their practice to ensure that children receive timely and effective treatment? As services increasingly commission time-limited interventions, what are the implications for art therapy practice with children with complex trauma? 

The role that art therapy can play within the field of trauma recovery has been supported through recent advances in neuroscience reliably informing us that the part of the brain responsible for forming language is compromised or “switched off” during traumatic events.

Informed by the CREATE framework (Hass Cohen), Mary Rose Brady will describe the “active curative elements” of a brief intervention model of art therapy: ostensive communication, accurately timed marking of emotion, marked mirroring of physical expression, joint attention and the re-labelling of appropriate emotional responses. This approach enabled the lowering of epistemic vigilance in order to maximise the treatment potential; alleviating the complex childhood trauma symptoms of a 5 year old adopted girl. 


Mary Rose Brady will present at the Attachment & the Arts conference on 6th October 2017


MARY ROSE BRADY is currently Director of Operations for the British Association of Art Therapists, Advisor for Children and Young People and Lead for BAAT’s Accredited Diploma specialising in Art Therapy with Children. Prior to this Mary Rose was Head of Parenting and Creative Therapies at Coram Children’s Charity where she and her team established the first National Centre for Creative Therapy and led the pilot for the national roll out of the Adoption Support Fund. Mary Rose is a qualified Parenting Practitioner and for over 20 years has specialised in children and young people’s mental health with a particular interest in marginalise populations and attachment trauma.

During her time as Consultant Art Psychotherapist with looked after children she specialised in sexual abuse, separation and trauma. Mary Rose co-established the first Post Graduate training in Art Psychotherapy in the Netherlands, in partnership with the University of London, where she was also involved in setting up research projects in Asylum Seeker Centres to assess the impact of war trauma on children’s drawing development. Mary Rose has advised and supported Charities on the therapeutic use of art with traumatised populations overseas including in St Petersburg and Mumbai.


For more information and booking please click here
You can see highlights from previous Attachment & the Arts conferences on Facebook 
here and on Twitter here

You can also follow the conference live on 6th October 2017 on Twitter using #AttachmentArts