RAFT, which stands for Recovery and Aftercare from Formative Trauma, is an 8 week art psychotherapy programme, which was designed specifically for We Are With You at Chy to support clients with a dual diagnosis clients who have experienced complex trauma, PTSD and other mental health conditions including schizophrenia and bipolar.

Watch the video below to find out more information, a news piece from Spotlight.

The programme is delivered in a group format, 1 ½ hr sessions twice weekly, and focuses on relieving trauma symptoms which often underlie substance misuse and addiction problems. This is achieved by working with the arts to bring unconscious feelings safely into play so they can be understood and changed in a supportive environment.

No prior knowledge or experience of the arts is required, and because the programme is focussed on image, symbol and metaphor any numeracy or literacy problems are easily overcome. The sessions are all themed and build towards a holistic treatment package. Individual sessions include understanding attachment, building self-esteem, shaking off shame, dealing with dissociation (including self harm), expressing anger safely, managing relationships with self and other, and processing grief and loss.

Examples of the types of activity involved in the workshops include sculpture (clay and plaster), environmental art, drawing and painting, collage and sandtray (using small miniature figures and objects to create stories about our experiences which the therapist and the group offer alternative solutions to). Often people comment that the interventions and workshops feel very childlike, and this is deliberate as trauma often occurs in childhood and so is best treated in a medium relevant to the age it occurred. That doesn’t mean RAFT is childish. It’s a serious programme which has strong evidence of its ability to help clients overcome their trauma and start leading meaningful and fulfilled lives.

The statistics below show the evidence collected by the University of bath but don’t take our word or theirs for it, come and see for yourself and join the growing club of RAFT-ers in recovery.

A former resident describes their experience below.
“RAFT enabled me to see my trauma in a way I never could when it was inside my head and, the different perspective it offered, allowed me to accept my past, learn from it and move forward. It was challenging at times, but ultimately an eye opening, bonding and enjoyable experience, which I heartily recommend anyone, given the opportunity, grabs with both hands.”

  • At the start of the programme, the majority of residents experienced symptoms associated with clinical depression (91%) and clinical anxiety (95%).
  • There was greater change where mental well-being was more problematic at the start of RAFT. The majority of residents experienced an increase in mental wellbeing over time (73%).
  • For the majority of residents, the outcomes were positive, indicating improvement in self-efficacy scores.
  • In addition to improvements in self-efficacy and mental well-being, significant change also occurred with the reduction of the severity of depression and anxiety symptoms.
  • Overall, the greatest changes occurred in relation to participants knowing when to ask for help, feeling that they could handle life, learning to like themselves, experiencing a reduction in issues and shorter-lived periods when issues did arise and being aware that other people had belief in them.

This model of addiction relates to problems of self-control and emotional struggle in four key areas. These are:

  • Feeling emotionally unstable and inconsistent
  • Experiencing reduced confidence
  • Problematic relationships
  • Not having the ability to develop healthy self-care skills

RAFT seeks to address this by supporting traumatised clients to better understand and manage self-care functions by prioritising self-care (including coping strategies), relationship management (especially of conflict), self efficacy and emotional understanding and regulation in order to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Promote abstinence and increase a person’s focus on their recovery.
  • Maintain or increase positive psychosocial outcomes, where these are problematic, specifically mental well-being and self-efficacy.
  • Decrease negative psychosocial outcomes, where these are problematic, specifically symptoms associated with depression and anxiety and/or post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Facilitate a sense of confidence, where people feel able to tackle any housing difficulties and to maintain a tenancy and/or stable housing.
  • Facilitate a sense of confidence, where people feel ready to engage with volunteering, education, training or employment.

To find out more about RAFT please send us a message through our contact form or call 01872 262 414.