Mitigating Vicarious Trauma with Contemplative Art/Self Care Techniques
This is a 3 part series for interpreters to gain resources in the mitigation of the impacts of vicarious trauma on their mental and physical health. Each section is devoted to developing mindfulness and self-awareness in order to de-stress, either pre or post assignment. The first of the series, “Self Body State Art for Interpreters, is a somatic therapy exercise and is especially beneficial for interpreters who may suffer from cumulative stress, horizontal trauma and/or vicarious trauma. Participants will be guided in clearing the mind with breath work, then given a “body outline” template in which to help release built up muscle aches from repetitive motion injury via a series of prompts and then using watercolors to complete the intuitive exercise. Following the artwork, a brief discussion on any insights or thoughts that arise will be guided by the instructor, so that interpreters may use as a resource for self-care and improve their health and well-being.
”Healing Postcards for Conflict Resolution”, is an excellent exercise to aid in conflict resolution or any internal struggle that may be troubling to interpreters and acting as an obstacle to effective production of the interpreting process. Critical analysis, introspection, and contemplative thinking are all vital to healthy ethical decision making and this activity helps to affirm these important processes for successful interpreting.
Part 3,The last part of the series, is an introduction to “Mandala Making for Interpreters”, a relaxing art exercise for interpreters that is well known in clinical studies to help boost the immune system, reduce stress and pain, lower blood pressure, and aid in promoting sleep. Interpreters will learn how to slow down after a stressful interpreting assignment and bring calming, relaxing energy into their lives.
1) Students will be able to articulate the meaning of Contemplative art as it relates to introspection, getting in touch with intrapersonal thoughts and emotions, and critical thinking that are vital for improving ethical decision-making.
2) Students will be able to demonstrate the practice of creating art which can serve as an external benefit, as a source of inspiration, aiding in stress reduction, and mitigating vicarious trauma, which is an important component of our post-assignment controls.
3) Students will be able to explain the benefits of the basics of mindfulness via current studies on cortisol levels, so that they may approach assignments with clear thinking and avoid stress both pre-and post-assignment.
Teresa Sedano is a resident of Santa Rosa, California and a certified-retired interpreter as well as former adjunct faculty at American River College, instructing sign language interpreting students in the area of Ethics and Professional Standards. She continues to provide workshops and mentoring to interpreters and is particularly interested in the area of self-care. In 2011, Teresa suffered an injury to her left side and retired from interpreting, focusing on teaching and mentorship while completing her Master’s degree in Contemplative Education at Naropa University in Colorado.
She has a passion for art, and is a member of the Northern California Art Therapy Association. Teresa has a certificate in “Expressive Art Therapy”, and has taught pre-school children at “Young Rembrandts”, an after-school art program. In addition, Teresa is currently teaching an online “Art and Story-time” class for elementary students through “ArtPlayLearn”(www.artplaylearn.com) as well as having taught contemplative courses at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, involving instruction in mixed media, and working as a meditation guide via their “Artful Meditation” program. At present, Teresa is involved in teaching an online guided meditation course: “Shelter in Place Sangha”, which meets every month on the 3rd Saturday.
Teresa is also the owner of Awakened Heart Designs, providing workshops and 1-1 instruction in contemplative art concepts: mindfulness, presence, and breath work, in order for each individual to explore the joy of self expression during the creative process. It is Teresa’s desire that all individual’s benefit from many of these therapeutic techniques and improve their health and wellness.
Teresa welcomes any and all questions or comments whether via email, phone call, texting, Skype, or snail-mail. ☺