Carey MacCarthy is perhaps the first Art Therapist we’ve had on the show, and we learned so much about the healing modalities of art. (Who knew?)

Because she is a facilitator, presenter, researcher, author, and co-author of a manual called Startup! a school-based arts curriculum for Native American youth and other cultures, Carey has seen the ways art therapy heals historical, generational, and current trauma.

It’s called neurodevelopmental art therapy, and it rewires the brain from trauma, depression, and anxiety. It’s a bottom up, whole brain healing approach involving left & right brain integration.”

Carey reports that after 25 years of neuroscientific research, we know trauma cannot be healed without getting the whole brain involved. Carey teaches very specific, scientifically designed, art therapy activities that include a series of exercises to engage the 4 functioning structures of the brain.

Art therapy is actually a master level degree requiring a graduate program specializing in art therapy. After a 3 year graduate program, I had to do a 3,000 hour internship and pass a licensing exam. Then I could register with the art therapy credentials board.”

Carey’s program uses self-directed neuroplasticity and our maladaptive stress response to help clients get off the hamster wheel of negative feedback which loops in our brain.

Art redirects, strengthens, and rebuilds neural pathways since with trauma there’s a lot of damage that happens in our neural network. Inflammation causes damage in the brain and a hyper-arousal response on the brain causing anxiety, depression, aggression, and that fight, flight, or freeze.”

Carey explains the reason art therapy works when both sides of the brain are engaged.

Art is a right brain activity. Verbal expression is a left brain activity. If you’re using both hands, that’s bilateral stimulation. Then, when you’re hearing instructions, it engages the auditory processing system.”

  • Images are created and encoded
  • Emotional articulation is regulated  
  • Adaptive coping skills are developed
  • The brain is communicating

Carey isn’t just teaching this to clients and facilitators, she has seen firsthand the results of Art Therapy and it’s healing effects on her own trauma.

When I was a little girl my parents were both mentally ill. My father has Asperger’s, and my mother has borderline personality disorder with severe alcoholism.

When I was 11 my family just fell apart and I ended up in the hospital from physical abuse. After a few years living with my autistic father and brother, I got kicked out of the house and found myself on the streets.

I was a young teen on drugs, and part of the Punk Rock scene in the 1980’s. That community of people saved me despite becoming a single mom in my early 20’s.”

Carey put herself through school and experienced art therapy while in a graduate program. Her trauma symptoms began to decrease, then disappeared completely.

I know firsthand how art therapy worked on the maladapted stress response my brain was primed for. Following an exposure to mold, my body reacted with Severe Electro-Hypersensitivity Syndrome. I couldn’t be around computers, cell phones, or even cell towers because I could feel them a mile away. I healed my brain using neuro developmental art therapy and a self-directed neuroplasticity based approach called dynamic, neural, retraining system.”

Today, Carey applies her training in the Red Road approach to healing with Lakota and Dakota tribes. Working with native people, she is helping them heal and rebuild from historical and generational trauma. She sees amazing results. Art Therapy is helping!

Our research outcomes show across-the-board reduction of anger, depression, anxiety, post traumatic symptoms, dissociation, and sexual thoughts.”

Carey is doing amazing work, and we are delighted she allowed us to introduce her labor of love on Life Mastery Radio with Todd & Jackie.

She is offering all of you a free video to start your own Art Therapy. Click here to receive Scribble your Way to Calm.

Every child needs access to this program as a prevention and intervention strategy from trauma, depression, and anxiety. It’s time to undo the damage of the pandemic and rebuild healthy building blocks in the nervous system, the sensory system, the emotional, perceptual, and cognition in the brain.

Imagine even the youngest children having healthy relationships, healthy boundaries, positive communication skills, and adaptive coping skills to deal with their own traumas.

Go to Carey’s website

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