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• Social action art therapy can help empower domestic violence and sexual assault counselors.
• A social action art based directive creates group cohesiveness as well as camaraderie.
• Participation in social action art therapy based interventions would significantly reduce stress.
This study evaluated the effectiveness of a social action art therapy session to address symptoms of stress and compassion fatigue in counsellors working in domestic violence (DV) and sexual assault (SA) services. Participants were adult women (N = 30) who work with client survivors of DV and SA. Participants participated in three groups based on their workplace, and were asked to create art for a group peace pole. The peace pole has currency within the DV support community as a symbol of hope and safety. After creating individual artworks, each member glued their canvas squares onto the peace pole to create a unified group piece of art. The Compassion Fatigue Self-Test was used as a measure of compassion fatigue, and the Psychological Stress Measure 9 provided information regarding pre and post measures of symptomology changes. The results supported the hypothesis that participation in a social action art therapy based session could significantly reduce stress.
Journal: The Arts in Psychotherapy - Volume 50, September 2016, Pages 34–39