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Healing through art: Group offering free art therapy for Marshall Fire families

Free art therapy sessions offered in Superior
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Posted at 5:14 PM, Jun 04, 2022

SUPERIOR, Colo. — Marshall Fire families have had to deal with a lot of stress and uncertainty over the past five months and now a free art therapy program is available for those who need it.

"Lots of phone calls to insurance and organizing things and then dealing with kids and family, not making time for myself to be able to process the challenges that I'm going through," said fire victim, Lori Prater.

Prater says things have not gotten any easier.

"There seems to be a lot of triggers that still set us off. And I know the summer, as it becomes more dry, will be hard," she said. "There's still all the different phases of grief and things that people are going through. There's going to be more long-term need for support."

The support keeps growing across communities in Boulder County. Andrea Golod, who was impacted by a different fire years ago, helped start the art therapy program.

"I didn't get the help I needed when I had my fire. So I knew the impacts of not doing that. I wanted to do something that would be beneficial for people here," said Golod.

The sessions range in different age groups and different types of trauma. There are also therapists, like Krista Reinhardt, there to help people talk through what they're feeling.

"Art is pretty cool because it's not only a regulation tool in itself, as far as your nervous system but you can create stuff. So you can make a picture of your trauma, for example, or use certain materials to make your body feel better in the moment when you're processing your trauma," said Reinhardt.

Prater said her group made prayer flags during the first session she attended.

"We all found ourselves just putting a ton of paint on, you know, just overlapping and picking colors. And it was interesting at the end to see what we created. It wasn't entirely focused on art. I think it was more emotional and had more feeling in it," said Prater.

Therapists say if you're still struggling it's important to take a step back and make time for yourself.

Art therapist, Jamie Peschke, also shared some advice.

"Trying to find activities and self-care that brings them to the present and being mindful to that, and things like art, things like finding someone they feel safe talking with, checking in with themselves through meditation, or going for a walk or run can be very helpful," said Peschke.

Reinhardt said it can help to put trauma on an external object to be able to process it. She added that it's important to focus on the positive.

"Whatever it is coming in, that feels negative, try not to fill your brain with negativity all the time, and try to remember all the good things that are happening. The fires were horrible, and look at all the amazing people who stepped up and who keep stepping up," said Reinhardt.

The sessions will be offered through December. You can sign up for the free art therapy sessions through SignUpGenius.