The Art of Healing Trauma Coloring Book is here!
I haven’t been able to write for my blog for months as I created this coloring book. It’s been many, many hours of working on the illustrations and copy – a labor of love!
Here is the Book Description:
Slow down, tune into yourself and relax while you color 20 beautiful illustrations centered around the theme of recovering from traumatic life experiences. Each of the first 13 illustrations in this adult coloring book is accompanied by a mindfulness activity or somatic therapy exercise that teaches you how to ground into your body and self-regulate your own nervous system. These body awareness activities are not just useful for trauma recovery; they can also help to reduce stress and anxiety. The last seven illustrations are accompanied by messages that address various deeper aspects of the process of healing from trauma. These seven pages of poetry and written word were created to be short meditations to sink into while coloring. Illustrated and written by artist Heidi Hanson, creator of New-Synapse.com Tools for Self Healing and The Art of Healing Trauma Blog.
If you’d like to head over to Amazon to check it out here’s the link:
In this article, I am going to share with you all the coloring pages and one section of written content as well.
The Book has 3 Sections:
- Grounding Activities
- The 5 Step Self-Holding Exercise
- Trauma Healing Messages
The illustrations in the first two sections are accompanied by step-by-step instructions for grounding activities that can be found in other places on this website (so I didn’t include them below). The exercises in these sections could also be called mindfulness activities, somatic therapy activities, or self-therapy exercises. People of any age can benefit from these exercises; in fact, they are great for hyperactive children.
I am sharing all the writing that accompanies the pages in the third section, Trauma Healing Messages, because it does delve a bit deeper into trauma healing, touching on subjects like understanding that the bad things that happened to you were not your fault and inner child healing. Because these topics are a bit more sensitive, I’m giving the preview here so that parents have the full picture and can see it’s fine to have the book around kids.
The Art of Healing Trauma Coloring Book
Therapeutic Coloring Pages and Exercises for Stress, Anxiety, and PTSD
(Click on the images to view the slideshow)
(Each group of images is one coloring page – the full page and a few details from the page)
Section 1 – Grounding Activities
1. Drink Something Cold Mindfully
2. Mindful Walking
3. Look for Colors
4. Push Against a Wall
5. Count Backwards While Walking
6. Feet, Seat & Back
7. Four Count Breathing
8. Body Awareness: Color In Your Felt Sense
Section 2 – The 5 Step Self-Holding Exercise
Step 1. Hands on Sides of Head
Step 2. Hands on Head, Front & Back
Step 3. Hands on Forehead & Heart
Step 4. Hands on Heart & Belly
Step 5. Hands on Solar Plexus & Base of Head
Section 3 – Trauma Healing Messages
This image is accompanied by the Wolf Fur poem which can be found here.
A Message from the Forest Creatures
If you are a survivor of trauma and abuse, take a moment to receive this message from these loving forest creatures.
Inner Child Healing
Here you can give your inner child the things below that it may be yearning for. Just color them in!
- play and imagination
- to have your deepest concerns validated
- love, love, love
- wings to fly (meaning support to dream of becoming many things)
- appropriate affection (bear hugs)
- to be the light in someone’s world
- arms to lift you up
- safety to feel
- a place of honor (There are two big hearts and one little heart. The big ones represent a support network, but not necessarily two parents; they can represent a caregiver, single parent, parent’s friends, community, etc.)
Ask your inner child which item in the list it wants to have as a superpower for today.
Opening to Goodness & Allowing Emotions
In this illustration, a young woman trauma survivor is surrounded by a wise owl, friendly tree frogs, a happy jack rabbit, some doves, roses, plum blossoms, clouds and stars.
There are two hands, one on either side of the young woman’s head. They represent the Inner Nurturer, the part of ourselves that is gentle and kind to us as we heal. The hands also represent people who are Nurturers in our lives, showering us with their love and helping us to find our way out of the thick forest of painful feelings after trauma. In the picture, the tall trees of this thick forest can be seen in the distance as the young woman gradually leaves them behind.
The Nurturers pour water over the young woman’s head and face. As the water touches her, it turns into waterfalls, roses and doves. She is learning how to open to receive goodness from life and care from others. There are a few tears on her cheeks; she is just beginning to allow her emotions to surface and flow in this safe space created by the Nurturers and all the other forest creatures.
The owl in the picture symbolizes the wise part of ourselves who understands what we’ve gone through and the very unique journey each one of us must go on to heal.
The plum blossoms above her represent endurance and gaining maturity, depth, and a greater, nobler spirit through difficult life experiences:
“In the midst of winter, before snow melts and the swallow returns, plum trees blossom onto the barren landscape, bracing the harshness of winter and reminding people spring will come. Celebrated here is the vitality of life, endurance through hardship, and hope that life will regenerate.
“The plum blossom has been an important symbol in Chinese culture. As a ‘friend of winter,’ the plum blossom most vividly represents the value of endurance, as life ultimately overcomes through the vicissitude of time. The fragrance of plum blossoms ‘comes from the bitterness and coldness,’ as the Chinese saying goes. Souls are tempered in the depth of experience, growing in inner strength and unyielding courage.” Hong Jiang, “The Plum Blossom: A Symbol of Strength,” The Epoch Times, June 12, 2011.
Finding Your Inner Wolf
“There’s a wolf in me… fangs pointed
for tearing gashes…”
This is something I told my Mom when I was 8 years old. I drew this picture of my inner wolf, and she jotted down what I told her below the drawing:
Do you remember your inner wolf?
When healing from trauma, eventually we may begin to feel the energy and power of the inner wolf. We may unexpectedly begin to feel rage at all kinds of things, rage bubbling up from deep inside us that has been buried since our trauma. It is really about our having been violated. Our fangs—fangs that are curved and sharp for tearing gashes—might begin to show themselves. Become acquainted with your inner wolf so as to use its fierceness in ways that help you become stronger and more whole. Talking with a therapist about this rising anger is a great step to take. Your inner wolf is fierce and wild. Learn to be its friend, and it will be a powerful healing ally for you.
(I don’t mention this in the book but the reason “gentleness” and “safety” are written along the top is because this is part of a larger coloring poster that includes the young woman from the Opening to Goodness page. Along the top of the entire poster it says “gentleness, safety, care” as a way to focus on these concepts as overriding ideas for healing. In terms of the wolf – when feeling rage, it can be helpful to be gentle, safe, caring and understanding towards yourself – to know that there’s a good reason for these difficult, raw emotions to be coming up and to be caring towards yourself as you experience them.)
Fireweed is a tall wildflower with fuchsia colored blossoms. Fireweed is one of the first types of vegetation to appear in burnt-over areas, such as in patches of recently burned forest. Fireweed can fill a desolate, charred forest clearing or an entire mountainside with a massive carpet of bright pink.
Fireweed is a crazy plant! It’s a plant whose habit is to show up right after total destruction. Fireweed’s like, “This is so depressing. So… I’m gonna par-tay!” and then just takes over in its fabulous pink celebration, giving the forest inhabitants a brand new, colorful world. It’s also quite a tall plant, pointing upwards like an arrow, as if to point out a higher, wider perspective, one of hope and restoration.
that springs up in all its glory
after the devastation of the forest fire,
discover a brilliance
still buried in you
that longs to rise,
to feed off the sun,
to grow so tall,
until the ashes become rich food
at your roots.
May you show up
clothed in your bright colors,
full of your soft pride.
Returning to the Ocean of Life
After traumatic life events, it can feel as if we have been kicked out of the ocean of life and are floundering on the shore, like a fish out of water. We struggle to breathe and don’t know where we fit in anymore. The shock of trauma can act like something that severs us from the normal stream of human life and activity, leaving us feeling alone and different from others.
As you color this illustration, think about what it might be like, very slowly and only when you’re truly ready, to resume swimming in the ocean of life. Look at the friendly faces and soothing, rippling waves that are there to welcome you.
And some additional info about the book:
There are two Editions of this book available.
First Edition – Published 11/27/17:
Pages are not blank on the back.
No dotted guidelines for cutting out pages.
Page count: 56
Revised Edition – Published 2/14/18:
Coloring pages and Exercise Pages are blank on the back.
Dotted guidelines are included for using a Xacto knife and ruler to cut each page out.
Page count: 90
Some Benefits of the Revised Edition:
- If you are coloring with markers and the colors bleed through, this won’t affect the opposite side text page making it difficult to read as nothing is printed on the other side.
- You may choose to color the pages outside of the book if this is easier for you.
- You may choose to hang pages up on the wall to display your finished work.
- You may hang the Exercise Instructions up next to the finished Coloring Page if you would like to be reminded of the Exercise.
Other than that all the content is the same as in the First Edition.
Buying in Bulk
If you are a therapist or workshop leader and would like to purchase some books to give to your clients or workshop participants, email me about bulk discounts (heidimariahanson at Gmail dot com).
Note About Sharing with Children:
The main reason I’m sharing so much of the book here is that I want to allow parents and educators to preview the contents to feel comfortable having the book in settings where children could get a hold of it and color it. The topic of trauma is heavy, but I focused on ideas around healing – not the trauma itself – so I pretty much avoided anything that could be too serious a topic for kids.
There are not many mentions of trauma per se in the book, but if some places where the word is mentioned spark questions in kids I think it’s pretty easy to provide kid-level explanations. For example, the idea of trauma could be explained as, “a time when you got injured and then felt frightened of playing with the same bike or playground equipment or felt intimidated by leaving the house when you got well again. After that happened to you, you needed to calm down and feel safe and relaxed but found that hard to do.” The idea can also be explained in terms of bullying: “when someone says something mean to you and you feel scared of them and bad about yourself, and feel angry and want to get back at them. At these times it’s good to learn to calm yourself down first before you do anything.” So I think kids can understand the idea, but I still want to allow parents and educators to preview all the contents for themselves
5 Indian – from India
- 5 teenage girls (Self-holding)
- girl (Walk)
- girl (Count)
- girl (Open to Goodness)
- boy (drink)
- woman, middle age (Feet, Seat, and Back)
- man, elderly (walk)
- young man (Look)
- girl (Push)
- woman (Fireweed)
And here is the back cover: