First You RISE, Then You Soar

Nora Riggs, MSW, LSW; Rosie Best, MA, MSW, LSW; Megan Jablonowski, BA & Debra DeHoff | September 19 | 4:00-5:00 PM

Topic: Art, Programming | Knowledge Level: Intermediate | Location: TBD

Recovering Individuals from Sexual Exploitation (R.I.S.E.) is a program of The Salvation Army in Northwest Ohio that seeks to empower survivors of trafficking and exploitation through holistic and intensive case management, support groups, and resource connections. Survivors of trafficking and exploitation have experienced immense complex trauma, and it has been found that traditional methods of addressing the needs don’t always prove the most beneficial (Polaris Project & Sanar Wellness Institute, 2015; Williamson, Dutch & Clawson, 2010; Xiong, 2008). For that reason, this project focuses on utilizing creative expressions and equine-assisted therapeutic activities to positively impact the survivors’ journey. This was realized through a collaborative grant between R.I.S.E., Issue Box Theatre, The Expressive Therapies Center, and Serenity Farm Equestrian Center through the generosity of the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition. This presentation will cover the process of collaborating across four unique yet interconnected fields (social work, art therapy, theatre, and equine-assisted therapy) as well as how the clients themselves responded to the activities. First, each presenter will share a brief background of their area of expertise and how it provides healing to survivors of human trafficking and exploitation, using research to support their perspectives. Second, each presenter will share the experience of working with R.I.S.E. survivors as well as working in a collaborative fashion across disciplines. Then, the presenters will provide qualitative responses shared from the survivors who were part of this project. Finally, the presenters will give overall feedback as well as suggestions for those wishing to facilitate similar activities and collaborations.

Presentation Objectives:

·  Discuss efficacy of art-based initiatives

·  Provide clarification on the differences between “therapeutic intervention” and “therapy”

·  Share responses of survivors to creative interventions and their process of imagining a brighter future

·  Present findings of evidence-based and best-practices related to creative interventions for survivors of trauma and trafficking

About the Presenters