I have the privilege of working with felons, specifically sex offenders. They are court-mandated to attend therapy after being released from prison or jail. While I follow a designated curriculum as set forth by the Utah Sex Offender Task Force, I also process their trauma via ART from being incarcerated but especially the events that led up to them committing their offense.
Most of them are victims of sexual and physical abuse. Many were juggled between foster homes or detention centers. They have difficulty forgiving themselves, feel worthless, and that they have no place in society. Through ART, they are able to overcome their guilt and feel compassion for their victim. They are no longer haunted by the crime for which they spent time incarcerated. They can move on and reinvent themselves. They are able to finally be at peace and plan for a better life.
Being able to let go of the emotion that they have carried for decades is a mind-blowing relief for them. They are transformed into creating a new image for themselves. ART provides a way for them to mourn their past, the loss of family and friends due to their crime, and find solace. My heart is touched as I watch the expressions on their faces with tears streaming down their cheeks. They are finally embracing the child who was hurt many years ago and ended up hurting others. Most of them no longer carry the burden they created for their victim. They finally feel loved.