Boston Marathon bombing and art therapy interventions

sherryjacobswebThis week’s bombing at the Boston Marathon is yet another tragic event testing Americans’ sense of resilience. The flavor of comments floating around the media in the aftermath are, “You messed with the wrong city” meaning that Boston is far too strong of a town to let acts of barbaric terror bring it down. This thought process actually is the result of dozens of generations steeped in the collective memory of the American Revolution. The attitude that freedom will be preserved even in the wake of cowardly acts of violence is one we sadly have had tested too often this year. At this writing, the source of the blast is unknown, leaving citizens confused and on alert.

One notable and amazing element to this event which took place in the immediate aftermath was the reaction of people standing close by after the bombs exploded. The video footage showed people running toward the explosion rather than away in an attempt to rescue victims. In a post 9/11 world, all Americans have become the first responders. Many lives were saved due to this visceral and immediate response. In today’s art exercise, we will use the strength of Bostonians and everyday citizens who were present and mimic their resilience through an art exercise.

Please find some pen and paper and take a few minutes to write words, images or symbols all over your paper in no particular order. Let your imagination wander all over the place in your mind, and jot down information about: emotional, historical, social, political issues relating to this incident. Make sure to write the words or symbols all around the paper. This exercise is designed to explore feelings that are often hard to capture in our linear way of speaking and writing. Once you have completed this, leave it for several hours or a day, then go back to it, and circle some words or images that seem connected to one another on the page.

How are you feeling based on the information you jotted down? This exercise can be a great process to explore our subconscious. Can you find someone to share your information with to help you process your feelings? If you have an overall positive outlook, can you connect with the resilient individuals we have witnessed this week? If you are feeling very negative, is there a way to bridge your feelings to those individuals who showed extreme courage this week? If you are looking for more art therapy interventions, please look around this blog and adapt other exercises to this topic.

Because the Boston Marathon attracts such a global crowd, I assume people in most parts of the world might have strong feelings connected to this race and everything it represents. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families.

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3 comments

  1. I have been away on holidays for the past week and missed most of the TV coverage of this horrific event. I find it very encouraging to hear that people were running towards the victims and wanting to help and that the best of human nature was brought out by the worst. My heart goes out to everyone affected by this tragedy from those who have lost loved ones, been injured and those who have watched it on TV. Big hugs xx Rowena

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