Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has a debilitating effect on people, causing them to re-experience the traumatic event years later. People with this disorder frequently suffer from a sense of isolation and lowered self esteem.
Artistic triage (a concept developed by Sarah Dobbs) is a visual arts based program that can assist caregivers with methods that help to identify those who are most traumatized by a disaster and in need of psychotherapeutic treatment.
Article: The Eyes of the Tigers
by Sarah Dobbs
Mulaittivu — Shortly after the tsunami demolished much of the coast, beneath the shade of coconut trees, Regita collects palmyra leaves from the forest floor to stoke the cooking fire. Her face is heavily lined, her dark eyes hard. But it’s the black hair, cut harshly above her shoulders, that singles her out from the other children and young women under the protection of the Catholic relief camp. Only girls with severe head lice or soldiers in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam wear their hair so short. Regita’s eyes say soldier.
The thick jungles of the Jaffna peninsula in northern Sri Lanka are home to the Tamil Tigers, a resistance army that has fought the Sinhalese government for over twenty years to establish an independent state. I am deep inside Tiger territory as a guest of the Holy Family Convent, founded in the nineteenth century by Irish missionaries. A nurse has invited me here to run arts programs for tsunami-orphaned children. I’d watched footage of the watery chaos on television, but had I known I’d be working close to where the tsunami struck I might have hesitated since my greatest fear is drowning. I’d also had no idea that I would be allowed into Tiger territory, where few Westerners have trodden, and where the Sri Lankan government was accused of offering little relief funding after the wave hit. The Tigers were seizing on the void to recruit children from the relief camps, trying to replace hundreds, possibly thousands, of soldiers they’d lost to the tsunami.