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After Trauma, High School Students Find Healing and Comfort in the Creative Arts

Students performing

The event ended with a performance by Marjorie Stoneham Douglas High School students, who sang original compositions created in a songwriting workshop.

After a traumatic experience, healing can be a long road for young survivors. For high school students exposed to trauma, finding community is an important part of working through pain.


At a special event called, “The Future of Healing: Engaging Students’ Expressions,” teenagers exposed to gun violence or the loss of a loved one through an act of terrorism or war, met at the Department of Art and Art Professions in the East Village for a restorative day of art, music, and drama therapy workshops.

The event was organized by Marygrace Berberian, director of NYU Art Therapy in Schools Program. Faculty members Maria Hodermarska and Katie Down offered drama therapy and music therapy. 

“Art therapy has helped me to access parts of myself that were closed off to feeling,” said Robert Pycior, whose father died at the Pentagon on 9/11, and is now a social worker at Project Common Bond. “Even in the ultimate disaster, you learn that you can thrive, feel okay, and still feel joy.”

The Future of Healing was co-sponsored by Counseling in the Schools and ProjectCommon Bond. The event concluded with a performance by a trio of Marjorie Stonham Douglas students, who sang original compositions they wrote in a songwriting workshop they attended the summer after 17 of their classmates were killed in a deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.