Self-Care after Trauma: Learning Sexual Boundaries while Feeling Frustrated and Exhausted (week 3 of my study)

2/10/2020 Week 3, dream reflection, “Feeling the Weight of my Trauma”

In this post, I will be revealing the raw data within Week 3 from my study, “Self-Care after Trauma: A heuristic inquiry using Art Therapy, Journaling, and Dream reflection.” What consists within the raw data is all of my artwork, journal entries, and documented dreams that was expressed for the duration of the 5 week study. 

If you have not read the other posts where the title begins with the words “Self-Care after Trauma” I suggest you go do that first before continuing! They briefly explain my journey of choosing this topic, what this topic means, and the plan behind my study. You can read how I discovered what self-care after trauma truly meant, here. You can read about the plan behind my study, here. Then you can read about Week 1 here and Week 2 here

Now, let’s dive into Week 3 of my study! 

I was becoming aware of the level of unsafety I had been feeling, how wounded my sexuality had been, and that I did not want this to be my reality anymore. In Week 2 the feelings of anger had emerged and in Week 3 I was still processing those sensations. I was angry because I was not being seen when I was trying to show someone my vulnerability with the pain I was in as a result of trauma. That week, I also journaled about my frustrations with the boundaries I needed at the time in regards to sex. In a journal entry I wrote:

“I have boundaries to not have sex if I am drunk or if I am feeling like I ‘should’ have sex to keep my partner happy/satisfied… It’s annoying to have all these boundaries involving sex. I wish it could just be normal for me, but it’s currently not.”

“It’s annoying, but these boundaries are healthy for me. It is making me feel safer. I am discovering a healthy way of viewing and participating in sex. I feel like a person’s sex life after rape isn’t talked about and it should be. Sex still happens for people after rape. If the trauma is not faced and worked through, sex could end up being a lifetime problem or an unhealthy or unsafe perception of sex will persist.” 

I did not make this connection until just now, but it’s interesting that in my journal entries I was exploring boundaries then my art piece depicts all these repetitive lines, that can even give the appearance of a wall, a boundary. That’s the unconscious mind at work right there continuing to process my emotions, thank you Art Therapy! 

Week 3, “Avoidance”

I titled this piece “avoidance” because on Week 3 was when I was met with resistance. I barely journaled that week, I didn’t remember some of my dreams, and one of the drawings I completed it really quick just to get it over with. What I’ve learned is that when we often hit a wall of avoidance, we are on the brink of getting to the actual problem. Getting to some of the roots. At the time, I did know on some level, which is why I pushed through even if it was the bare minimum for that week. 

The drawing I created to showcase my dreams this week, I chose to focus on one dream that had a huge impact on me vs creating a drawing that communicated the essence for all of the dreams. Within this dream it felt as if the reality of my sexual traumas was crashing down on me. I was feeling all of it in a way I had never embodied before. In the dream I was incredibly exhausted, which that feeling was present in other dreams throughout the week too, and I remember physically feeling exhausted from this heuristic study in waking life. 

Other themes that were present in the dreams were shame, sadness, emotional neglect, anger, deeper understanding, feeling heavy, longing, unsafety, fear, and confrontation. What is interesting is the last dream (nightmare) I had during Week 3 it ended pleasantly with me being in the presence of a soul sister of mine, feeling safe, and feeling comfortable being close to her when we hugged. 

That is most of the raw data from Week 3! You can listen to me give further explanations on the artworks, journal entries, and dreams on my podcast, in episode 46. Again, the raw data was the real time processing moments for me. Insight came later after I analyzed the data and wrote about it in the results chapter of my thesis! If interested in staying up to date with me sharing my research, be sure to look for the title “Self-Care after Trauma” on any blog post or podcast episode. Thank you for tuning in as I share the healing that took place throughout the weeks of my study! 


When we see the light in ourselves, we create light in others.


Much love,


Published by creatinglightwithkelsey

I recently graduated with my masters in Art Therapy! I am in the beginning stages of creating an online business for myself where I will soon be seeing clients. As an Art Therapist I will be integrating the healing benefits of art therapy, sexuality, and spirituality. For now my focus is on establishing a website while providing informative free content via podcast and blog!

3 thoughts on “Self-Care after Trauma: Learning Sexual Boundaries while Feeling Frustrated and Exhausted (week 3 of my study)

  1. Thank you 🙏 I’ve been coming out with my truth and wrote a book . But now I’m dealing with the aftermath and trying to find ways to deal with the pain and have been wondering about art therapy. Thank you for sharing 💕

    Liked by 1 person

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