How resilient the human spirit is I do not know; however, I have made it my life’s work to help fortify and strengthen this spirit. It is a well know fact that art, music, dance, writing, poetry, and general body movements heal trauma. In my work as a social worker and Director of Programs, I pumped in lots of opportunity for various forms of creative self-expression to build resilience. My clientele ranged from survivors of abuse, neglect, domestic and sexual violence, as well as survivors of human and labor trafficking. Their ages ranged from five to twenty-five. Attendance to my weekly groups or “classes” were generally high as we plodded through our projects for the night. It never failed after a class of self-expression where it was safe to share all emotions, especially “ANGER,” the attendees would sit just a little straighter, reported less anxiety, and maybe trusted themselves a little bit more. Often my classmates would just come to sit in my office – not to talk, but to just “be.” Creating a safe physical and emotional space for us was paramount. It was a joy and an honor to sit in the presence of those who had survived such journeys of pain. Guiding them in classes of self- discovery and expression taught me much.
As a social worker with an artist soul, my goal was always to bless and inspire those who encountered my work. Join me next time, when I share one of my favorite groups with you. Rock on Resiliency!
Vivien B. Mann
January 25, 2018