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preface A WORKBOOK OF SELF-EXPRESSION

This workbook was created with the purpose of exploring an alternative method of healing through the use and execution of art/exposure therapy. The effects of childhood sexual abuse is unique with every survivor due to a multitude of variables: environmental, familial, financial, friendships, support system, and so on and so forth. No two abuse survivors will have the same 1

experience but through this workbook, I hope to give other survivors the assurance that they are not alone, not crazy, not damaged goods, and that their feelings are a direct result of the abuse. Healing is possible and everyone will have a different method of getting there. This is mine. This workbook project is my own personal journey and experimentation with the process of using art to learn how to deal with the aftermath of my abuse. In my pursuit, I have explored numerous art mediums including: alternative photography, watercolour and acrylic painting, sketching and illustrations, and so on. I will be interpreting art as practical exercises, meant to help you identify and express complex emotions and feelings. Within this workbook are stories, commentaries, and a photographic series of my own abuse, difficulties, and emotional turmoil/growth. I hope it will help convey the message that no matter what stage you are in, you are not alone and healing is possible. Passages or images in this workbook may inspire or anger you. Don’t hold on to that feeling and bury it. Express it and use this book to its fullest potential.


materials & methods WEAPONS OF CHOICE This workbook is designed to promote the exploration of a variety of artistic outlets. You do not need to be artistically inclined in order to use this workbook. Even if you have never practiced before, the creative process facilitates self-awareness and helps you convey and physically communicate thoughts and feelings that are hard to verbally articulate. The exercises will recommend you materials for each exercise but you are free to use whatever you have on hand or interpret it into a different form that is more natural to you (i.e. dance, writing, etc). All the paper used in this workbook are artist friendly, ranging from sketch to mixed media quality. Although there are spreads dedicated to let you use as a blank canvas, I want to encourage you to fill every edge of this workbook.

M AT E R I A L S R E C O M M E N D AT I O N

—gouache —acrylic —watercolour

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—pens

paint

—pencil/graphite —calligraphic pens —pencil crayons

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misc.

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credits Research & Design NGOC DAO

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Photography

CHRISTINA

TRAN

Proofreader

MICHELLE LU ONG


see no evil

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taking stock

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It is important to figure out what you are ready for. Ask yourself these questions: Where am I right now? Where did I come from? How did the abuse change my life? How did I survive? What coping mechanisms did I use? What coping mechanisms am I using now? Identifying your current state of being can help you get a clearer understanding of where to focus and what issues you want to address.


POKE / FILL THE HOLES THAT APPLY AND/O R WRITE DOWN WHAT APPLIES TO YOU

I want to learn how to deal with my abuse, but I don’t know how

I’m not sure but I think I was abused

I’ve always remembered and thought about it, but am just now starting to deal with the effects of the abuse

I’ve tried therapy but had a bad experience

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I want to learn about my abuse but was intimidated by current available resources

I blame myself for the abuse and suffer from guilt and shame

I have low self-esteem/worth/value as a result of my abuse

I usually don’t think about it but there are times when I can recall my abuse in vivid details


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HIDE SECRET MESS AGES OR INSPIRAT IONAL QUOTES


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LOVE YOURSELF TO REMIND YOU TO


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art as an expression TURNING IDLE HANDS INTO PRODUCTIVITY As a young kid, I subconsciously made the decision to turn to art and forget. I chose to forget and erase countless memories of my childhood. When I think back on it, I cannot recall many specific memories. Only vague shapes and ideas. Over the years, I have slowly started to notice other signs of how my trauma was shaping the other aspects of my everyday life. I became curious but was too scared for a long time to dive head first into it; fearful that it would unravel what I have ignored for most of my life. However, I believed that it was time I make an effort and truly want to move forward.

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To start healing is to find a safe environment where

safe space

you can relax, feel secure and allow your emotions to freely express your emotions. The safety that was taken away from us as children must be rebuilt.

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In this page, write about and describe or visualize (i.e. through drawing, painting, or even print and attach, etc.) your own personal safe space. It can be real, imaginary, or even from an existing fictional world. This is a place that you can escape to for a “time out,� whenever you are frightened, overwhelmed, stressed, unable to cope or experience a myriad of other negative emotions.


emergency contact When you are feeling lost, in distress, or have fallen to an especially dark place, contact this list of people that you trust to pull you back up. This can be family, significant other, friends, national hotlines, or medical professionals.

FAMILIES

NAME PHONE EMAIL ADDRESS

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FRIENDS

NAME PHONE EMAIL ADDRESS

ESSIONAL MEDICAL PROF

NAME PHONE EMAIL ADDRESS

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safety blanket K E E P I N G T H E M O N S T E R S AT B AY My personal form of safety is within the confines of my room, in my bed, and wrapped up in my blanket. No matter what time of day or what season of year, it’s the place I feel safest. I didn’t have a private room when the abuse happened. I lived on a small “second floor” with my mom and sister. There was no door and no safety. It was an open space, I was “exposed” and alone. When I came to Canada and received my own private room for the first time, I was terrified of having to sleep alone. Scared of the ghosts and monsters. However, if I’m under my blanket with the doors closed and my stuffed animals watching over me, the monsters would be kept at bay. My room, no matter how small, has kept me safe and allowed me to be free of judgement.

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WHAT IS YOUR SAFETY BLANKET?

If you don’t have one yet, find an object, person, or space that calms you down.


Flowers and plants have been used by many cultures as a form of communication by assigning each a symbolic meaning. In this workbook, I used them to represent purity, loss of innocence as well as moving on. Use this exercise as art therapy and learn about the language of the flowers to express yourself.

wallflower (noun)

He’s a wallflower. You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand. —Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

To press flowers, select (flat) flowers of your choice without spots/blemishes. Place it within the 2 parchment paper provided. Close this book and leave it untouched, weighed down under something heavy, for 7-10 days.

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S ONTO THIS PAGE W PRESSED FLOWER GLUE, TAPE OR SE

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YOU FEEL E PAGES WITH HOW EATE WITHIN THES CR / T IN PA / AW DR ABOUT YOUR SEXUAL ORGAN AFTER REVI EWING THE PREVIO US PAGES


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hear no evil 27

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effects of abuse

SELF-ESTEEM

FEELINGS

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INTIMACY

The effects of CSA varies for every survivor. The categories listed here are the most commonly affected areas. List out or describe how it has affected you.


FAMILY

BODY

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SEXUALITY

CHILDREN + PARENTING


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control & perspective Put into perspective that the situation surrounding your abuse was out of your hands and in no way, shape, or form, your fault. You were not deserving of it.

OUT OF MY CONTROL

I COULD CONTROL

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talking to a chair

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TO ABOUT YOUR ABUSE. WRITE OUT ALL YOUR DRAW YOURSELF AND WHO YOU WISH TO TALK

THOUGHTS AND EMOTIONS IN THE SPACE ABOVE THAT YOU WEREN’T ABLE TO EXPRESS


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a letter Write a letter to yourself here to open at another time. Use this exercise as a mode to track and examine the progress you’ve made. Rip this page out and leave it in the envelope of the next page. Open it when you are lost and need some perspective.

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Visit the link below to find sexual assault centres near you. The sexual assault centres provide free counselling and information about sexual violence. Help and resources are available for survivors of recent sexual assault, past sexual assault, sexual harassment and childhood sexual abuse.

HTTPS://SEXUALASSAULTSUPPORT.CA/SUPPORT/

If you are a woman in crisis, call the ASSAULTED WOMEN’S HELPLINE

1-866-863-0511 (TOLL FREE)

1-866-863-7868 (TTY)

416-863-0511 (TORONTO)

If you are a male survivor, call the 24-hour, multilingual, toll-free phone line for immediate crisis and referral services

1-866-887-0015

For information on the full range of services available to victims of crime, visit the VICTIM SERVICES DIRECTORY

HTTP://SERVICES.FINDHELP.CA/

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aftercare & therapy

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trigger tracker TRACK LATE BELOW TO USE THE TEMP THE FREQUENCY AND INTENS ITY

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ways to reduce anxiety

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RELAXATION TRAINING

Train your body to be more relaxed with discussion of what gives you anxiety. This technique will help you start to associate your body and mind to relaxing activities and help calm you down when you talk about stressful matters. The activities can be yoga, stretching, meditation or anything that can help you decrease muscle tension.

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STIMULUS CONTROL TREATMENT Practice setting aside a worry until a certain time or place so it teaches you how to “control” your worrying. It should promote problem solving rather than worrying. For example, having a mindset of, “I am at work right now but I do not want my anxiety to take over and effect my work so I will talk to my friend about what is stressing me out at 5pm when work is done.”

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EXPOSURE TO UNCERTAINTY Recall that anxiety can cause people to avoid situations that cause uncertainty. Introduce these situations to slowly desensitize yourself to anxiety provoking situations — going to a new place

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without doing prior research, being more spontaneous, applying to jobs without knowing if they will hire you, etc.

IMAGINE WORSE CASE SCENARIO

Write out the worst case scenario that your anxiety causes you to think about. This exposes you to seeing it being played out. Most people will realize that this scenario is unlikely to happen because they would do things to prevent it from happening. For example, if someone’s worst fear is becoming homeless after failing university, they would try to increase their grades and apply for jobs for a stable income in order to avoid homelessness. Practice finding solutions to these fears to prevent your worst fears from coming true.


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FILL IN THE PROVIDED AREA WITH SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES FOR YOUR BODY , MIND, AND SOUL

RE, NAP, ETC MASSAGE, SKINCA

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self-care menu


yearly mood tracker J

This yearly mood tracker is also called a Year in Pixels

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in which you chart out your mood through colour the entire year, resulting in one pixel per day. Colour in the day’s pixel by the mood that

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best represents that day.

YEAR

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LEGEND

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weekly self-care

Commit yourself to doing acts of self-care every week. Selfcare activities vary per person with what suits you best but some options are: sleep, exercise, and drink water. Map out how well you are doing (scale from 1-10) through the

D AT E

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childhood sexual abuse

Profile for Ngoc Dao

csa  

An experimental workbook providing an alternative method to healing from childhood sexual abuse (CSA).

csa  

An experimental workbook providing an alternative method to healing from childhood sexual abuse (CSA).

Profile for nndao
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