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  • 2. ABSTRACT The purpose of this study is to determine the effects of group therapeutic art project in reducing sexual trauma in sexually abused children. The researchers used two matched group designs. Thirty participants aged 6 to 12 were purposely divided into Experimental and Controlled Group. Sexual Assault Symptom Scale was used as pre and post-test while T test to analyze the results of the experiment and to determine the effectiveness of group therapeutic art project. It is hypothesized that group therapeutic art project do not rehabilitate the sexually abused children. The result of the study conducted and supported the hypothesis, making the statement that there is no effect in reducing sexual trauma using group therapeutic art project.
  • 3. Group Therapeutic Art Project involves a Holistic approach in that it only addresses emotional and cognitive issues but also enhances social, physical and developmental growth. Various studies have demonstrated the efficacy of group therapeutic art project to help with the immediate discharge of tension and simultaneously minimize anxiety levels of sexually abused children who have common behavioral symptoms found include irritability, frequent soiling, nightmares, suicide attempts and confusion about sexual boundaries.
  • 4. A child sexually abused is recognized as having a traumatic experience that can have a number of adverse effects. Sexually abused children generally reveal significant problems in diverse areas of functioning including those of affect, behavior, cognition and interpersonal relationships. (Collier, & Parillo, 2008; Gardner, 2007; Mazza, 2009). Therefore, children may experience difficulties in integrating the experience of abuse and processing it emotionally and cognitively due to developmental immaturity (Ryan 2010). Difficulties associated with the treatment of sexually abused children relate to their inability to verbalize their emotions and thoughts generated by the abuse.
  • 5. Art therapy can be beneficial to people of all ages, but it is especially useful for children. Art is a natural form of communication for children because it is easier for the children to express themselves visually rather than verbally. This is particularly true for children who have experienced sexual trauma. Members of the American Art Therapy Association hope that this information will give those working with traumatized children and their families a greater understanding of how art therapy can be used to support trauma recovery.
  • 6. The Rehabilitation through Group Therapeutic Art Project are very beneficial for sexually abused children. Many sexually abuse crisis centers are based on crisis theory and supportive psychotherapy groups. They rely on dissemination of information, active listening and emotional support (Resick et al., 2009). Group sharing of experience may affect patients’ numbness, isolation and fear of isolation. (Rosenhan et al., 2010) Cryer and Beutler (2011) found that most members of the group improved significantly in measures of fear and anxiety.
  • 7. Learned Helplessness Theory Martin Seligman developed the Learned Helplessness theory, finding to be psychological condition in which human being has learned to act or behave helplessly in a particular condition. In relation to the study, the theory was extended to human behavior concerning the common behavioral symptoms in particular to sexually traumatized children. Children may perceive events as uncontrollable and unpredictable, the more stress they experience, and the less they feel about making changes in their lives.
  • 8. The researchers’ study had three purposes. First, it was designed to determine the significance of group therapeutic art project in reducing sexual trauma. If the therapy reduced the trauma, then it indicated that there is relationship between the two. Next, is to identify the effect of group art therapy in sexually traumatized children. Lastly, to statistically measure the rehabilitation of sexually abused children through group therapeutic art project.
  • 9. R e s e a r c h P a r a d I g m That human has learned to believe helplessly even when the opportunity is restored for it to itself by avoiding an unpleasant or harmful circumstance to which it has been subjected. Participants (6-12 years old; sexually abused) Sexually Abused Experimental Group Sexually Abused Controlled Group Sexual Assault Symptom Scale (SASS) Sexual Assault Symptom Scale (SASS) Pre-test Pre-test Group Therapeutic Art Project (Self-portrait) Sexual Assault Symptom Scale (SASS) Post-test Sexual Assault Symptom Scale (SASS) Post-test There is a significant effect in reducing sexual trauma by using Group Therapeutic Art Project
  • 10. Method Participants This study had covered thirty female aged six to twelve years of age and has a background on sexual abuse. The said participants came from Kaisahang Buhay Foundation in Quezon City. The participants will be purposively selected. A consent letter was given to the foundation through the assistance of the Director that also educated the participants about this whole experiment. Thirty participants were divided into two groups fifteen for the Experimental group and fifteen for the Controlled group.
  • 11. Materials Sexual Assault Symptoms Scale was administered to participants to determine the level of sexual trauma. The Sexual Assault Symptom Scale developed by Libby O. Ruch (1991), it is a self-report measurement that is relatively brief and was used to assess initial symptoms of sexual assault trauma syndrome. The said test is used in the evaluation of children who have experienced traumatic events, including physical and sexual assaults, victimization by peers, major losses, the witnessing of violence done to others and natural disasters.
  • 12. Design This study is based on Martin Seligman’s Learned Helplessness Theory that the Sexually Abuse children has learned to act or behave helplessly in a particular situation. The participants were asked to take the Sexual Assaults Symptom Scale to determine the level of sexually abused. Two-group design is used; the independent variable (sexually abused) is manipulated in at least two levels or treatment condition. One group is controlled group, which receive the zero value of the independent variable while the experimental group, exposed to a non-zero value of the independent variable. Both groups are then measured on the dependent variable (Group Therapeutic Art Project).
  • 13. Procedure The researchers used thirty participants aged 6 to 12 were purposely divided into Experimental and Controlled Group. Sexual Assault Symptom Scale was used as pre-test to determine the level of sexual trauma. Group therapeutic art project was given to experimental group. Materials such as bond paper, crayons, and color pens, clay, colored paper, watercolor and popsicle sticks was used as a group therapeutic art project. Then we used Sexual Assault Symptom Scale as a post-test. To analyze the results independent T-test was used and to determine the effectiveness of group therapeutic art project.
  • 14. Result The data were analyzed with 15 participants who underwent group therapeutic art project. Independent T-test was used; a level of alpha set at 0.5 with a 66 degree of freedom and had a critical value of 2.048 to determine the significant effect in rehabilitation of sexually abused children through group therapeutic art project.
  • 15. Table 1 Mean Scores and Standards Deviations of Experimental and Control group. Group Mean Standard Deviation Pre Experimental 52.25 33.17 Post Experimental 40.71 121.39 Pre Control 58.24 32.79 Post Control 53.83 32.37 Note: The level of alpha set at 0.5 with a degree of freedom of 66 and a critical value of 2.048
  • 16. Table 2 The significant Effect of Group Therapeutic Art Project in Reducing Sexual Trauma in Experimental and Control Group Using Independent T test. Variables Pre Control and Pre Experimental Mean 1 Mean TDegrees of 2 Value freedom 58.24 54.25 4.67 Post Control and Post Experimental 53.83 Critical Decision t-value 40.71 66 2.048 Rejected Ho
  • 17. Note: The alpha set obtained 0.5 level of significance which is 2.048 with degree of freedom of 66. Since the obtained t value of 4.67 is less than the critical value from the table, this means that there is a significant effect in Rehabilitation of Sexually Abused Children through Group Therapeutic Art Project, the hypothesis was rejected.
  • 18. Table 3 The Percentage of Responses in Sexual Assault Symptom Scale among Sexually Abused Children. Sexual Assault Scale Percentage Disclosure shame 49% Safety Fears 43% Depression 35% Self-Blame 50% Note: The mentioned scale was the factors which contribute in their emotional trauma.
  • 19. The evidence showed that there were changes in the intervention as days went by, for example, there were few participants who have done and followed the instruction correctly but there were also instances that they could not figure out what to be done, as an outcome it did not match to what has been instructed. However, the result of Sexual Assault Symptom Scale proved that the rest of participants were able to finish the transformational selfportrait in one week, nevertheless, even the participants were able to finish the intervention as early as the expected time it was not enough to reduce sexual trauma. The findings were able to determine that group therapeutic art is an effective tool to reduced sexual trauma.
  • 20. Based on the results, it is recommended to conduct a different tool such as, workshops where participants will be emotionally inclined to deal with difficult and negative experiences. Also, a tool that will increase their awareness of the previous experience through exploring inner issues (e.g. cognitive therapy). In addition, future researches related to this study will have a clearer understanding in dealing with sexually abused children.
  • 21. The results suggest that this group therapeutic art project may improve symptoms of depression and anxiety. This study is another building block in the literature on sexual abuse intervention and it is hoped that future studies on the effectiveness of this intervention for sexually abused children are performed.