Article Summary: Appleton, V. (2001). Avenues of hope: Art therapy and the resolution of trauma. Art Therapy18(1), 6-13.

Appleton (2001) researched art therapy for the resolution of trauma. The purpose of this article is to describe how the art processes help in recovery from crisis or trauma by noting the observations of art therapy experiences with patients in the burn units. This research is significant because adolescence is the most creative stage of life. Art helps to express developmental changes and allows the adolescence to experiment with themselves and their role in the society. The problem that motivated the researchers to work on this effort is the fact that art therapist faces resistance from patients to the idea of using art therapy/art making due several factors like fear of being evaluated for artistic merit, and frequently lack of experience with the art media. This resistance is very high near the injury of sickness of an adolescent. Therefore, the art therapist must provide guidance on and description of art media to make the client comfortable with it. That is why, this paper presented those required descriptions. The author found that art is a significant source of expression for burn patients and that using art therapy proved useful in promoting hope among the burn patients during their treatment. This showed that art and generative processes help reduce the symptoms of trauma by encouraging expression about deep feelings and promoting hope among the victims.

The author described the concept of art therapy as a tool, which helps understanding and coping with troubling memories and images related to PTSD. The author explained that art making involves the patient in a search for newness and uniqueness. The author further added that art media is a stronger source of catharsis than verbal expression. The author limited the concept of art therapy to describe the processes of art therapy for adolescents.  Dissanayake (as cited in Appleton, 2001) explained that art is strongly related to the wish to do something new or unique in response to traumatic events. “Imagery-specific techniques” is a key term, which explains the concept of art therapy as a way of coping trauma or reducing trauma symptoms through drawing images. Imagery-specific techniques refer to drawing arts, which promote expression and thus can be used to help traumatic patients express their deep feelings and emotions related to trauma.

Appleton (2001) is related to all the previous sources analyzed in the sense that it explained another way to help patients cope with trauma and PTSD. However, it is more specifically related to Purves and Erwin (2004) in the sense that Purves and Erwin explained the relationship between self-disclosure and trauma by finding that characteristic of self-disclosure among individuals predicts the level of trauma symptoms among them. While Appleton (2001) found that art of drawings and paintings is an effective way of expression to reduce trauma and PTSD.  Both Appleton, and Purves and Erwin discussed two individual approaches to promote expression among trauma patients to reduce trauma symptoms.


Appleton, V. (2001). Avenues of hope: Art therapy and the resolution of trauma. Art Therapy18(1), 6-13.

Purves, D. G., & Erwin, P. G. (2004). Post-traumatic stress and self-disclosure. The journal of psychology138(1), 23-34.