Phoenix Alliance presents art workshop to release trauma

Finding Your Silver Lining Event in Idyllwild, CA on April 22, 2017

Members of the Phoenix Alliance
Julie Steiger (l) and Callie Wight (r) speaking about Finding Your Silver Lining Event

This article originally appeared in The Idyllwild Town Crier on April 20, 2017 and was posted by Marshall Smith.


The Phoenix Alliance presents a participatory art experience to help attendees release attachment to an embedded painful memory or experience. It is held this month in support of sexual-assault awareness month. Organizers stress that the event is for all ages.

Facilitated by Callie Wight, registered nurse and Master of Arts in human development and psychology, Julie Steiger, Master of Science in social work and Bachelor of Science in psychology, and art therapist Karla Leopold, with support from Rev. Shelly Downes and Mary Morse, executive director of Spirit Mountain Retreat, the art therapy workshop is designed to help release deeply held trauma — to use art to get it out of the body and onto paper that will then be ceremonially shredded.

Art therapist Leopold’s career mission has been to use art as a cathartic process to heal others. She has helped guide many suffering from life-altering losses to work though their loss using art as the healing agent.

In the fall of 2005, Rosie O’Donnell’s foundation “For All Kids” asked Leopold to lead a team of California therapists to work in an evacuation camp in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with children traumatized by Hurricane Katrina. O’Donnell’s foundation fully funded the team’s work.

Those attending the “Finding Your Silver Lining” workshop will be offered the opportunity, with support from the facilitators, to write or draw on paper an attachment they would like to release. Participants then walk with their paper to a shredder and while shredding the paper, they visualize their attachment dissolving. Leopold references Joseph Campbell who stated, “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.”

After that, as a doorway to embracing a life without negative attachments, workshop participants create a piece of art that represents the feelings, sensations or visions of letting go of what does not serve them and being open to a “silver lining” of personal happiness and fulfillment.

“Trauma does not have to define you for the rest of your life,” said Wight, whose career focused on counseling women veterans suffering from sexual trauma.

Art from Finding Your Silver Lining Event
Art from Finding Your Silver Lining (Prelude Event 4/2/17)

“The process we’ll use at the workshop symbolizes renewal and rebirth — a new beginning,” said Steiger, whose background is in counseling and leading therapy groups.


Artwork created will be displayed at the workshop site with permission of participants, and subsequently at the Idyllwild Library. There has been discussion of using some or all of the workshop-created art in specially made quilts — much like the iconic AIDS Memorial Quilt, The Names Project.

The art created is primarily a process for releasing trauma. As Leopold notes, participants should leave their “art critic” somewhere else. “There is no right or wrong,” she said. “This creation is yours and yours alone.”

Wight notes that trauma, especially trauma associated with sexual assault, crosses all genders, age groups and socio-economic bases. “Sexual assault happens to women, men, boys, girls and elders,” said Wight. “It is not about sex, it is about power and domination over another.”

Wight and Steiger stressed that their organization, the Phoenix Alliance, is about moving forward from gender-based violence to structuring healthy relationships and healthy communication. “Love is never abusive,” said Wight.

The Phoenix Alliance is the successor to The Mountain Community Alliance Against Gender Violence.

“Finding Your Silver Lining” will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at the gazebo adjacent to Higher Ground Coffee Shop. Refreshments and all art materials will be provided.

All are welcome and there is no cost to attend.



Finding Your Silver Lining (Event)

Finding your Silver Lining. A creative experience.

Event Poster for Finding Your Silver Lining

Are you going to be in Idyllwild on Saturday, April 22, 2017? Stop by, visit us at the Gazebo near Higher Grounds Coffee Shop (in the heart of Idyllwild). You will be able to release an attachment to a memory that is causing you pain. Then you will be invited to create an expression of the Silver Lining you have found.

After an Abusive Relationship, Lily Collins is Putting Herself First

Rising from the ashes of a destructive relationship.

Self-care is paramount.

beg-quote-black-71by52Lily Collins has released her first book, a collection of essays titled Unfiltered. […] her essays are raw, reflective, and deeply personal.

Perhaps the best example of this is her decision to discuss a former relationship that she says was physically and emotionally abusive. Collins told Us Weekly that the choice to include that part of her life in the book wasn’t easy, but she hoped it would be illuminating for women in similar situations. […]

Collins also revealed that it’s been difficult for her to talk about this time in her life, because she used to blame herself for ending up in a toxic situation in the first place. “I never regretted it, but I felt ashamed,” she said. “I thought, How could I put myself in that position? I came to a deeper understanding as I was writing. It’s taking the shame out of those things that makes you stronger.” […] “My book #Unfiltered is not about the other people in my life, but instead what I’ve learned about myself along the way,” she wrote in her caption. “It’s not about vilifying anyone. It’s about sharing my experiences to hopefully help others.”end-quote-black-71by52

Source: After an Abusive Relationship, Lily Collins is Putting Herself First


Let’s encourage healthy teen relationships.

Teen relationships


beg-quote-black-71by52You’d be hard pressed to find a teen who isn’t glued to their smartphone these days. But what about that teen who’s being bombarded with text messages from a significant other – is that just normal behavior or perhaps a sign of “textual harassment”?

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and despite startling statistics—such as nearly 60 percent of teens know someone who has been physically, sexually, or verbally abusive in a dating relationship—the good news is that adults can play a role in encouraging healthy dating behavior.

The article continues with the 5 signs of a healthy teen relationship. Please read the entire post on Futures Without Violence

Image: Futures without violence