Our founding is intrinsically tied to the personal journey of our Founder Heike Buelau. Here is her story.
“After 20 years in traditional therapy, it became clear that I was never going to be able to talk myself out of trauma. Relentless symptoms of post-traumatic stress characterized by shame, fear, isolation, anger, depression, addiction, and re-victimization continued to disrupt my healing process and I found myself desperate to find a path to healing.
When I began my group work with the Creative Art Therapies and Somatic Experiencing, everything changed. All of a sudden, my entire being got involved in the process of healing. I realized that the pain of trauma started and ended in my physical body and that I had dissociated from my body in order to protect my mind from suffering the shocks of the traumatic experiences of the past. This dissociation led me to abandon my ability to process what I experienced on an emotional level.
Using creativity and movement, step-by-step, the parts of me that had been broken were re-integrated into a ‘whole me’. Fundamental to the process was connecting with a group of my peers in order to finally end the isolation and shame surrounding my experiences. As life became worth living and a sense of self love and resilience had been established, I felt the profound need to provide an opportunity for holistic change to others.”
In 2016, the process of inquiry to develop a trauma-informed Creative Arts and Movement Therapy program began. Through in-depth research into the effectiveness of the Creative Arts and Movement Therapies, a program with 11 modules, THE 11 CHALLENGES©, was developed to support the different stages of healing from symptoms of post-traumatic stress. In collaboration with the Creative Arts Therapy Department at Pratt University the non-profit, The Changing Room 11, was founded.