therapy for Children
Discover art therapy
Art and crafts are a natural way of expression for children of all ages and a way of communication they feel comfortable with.
Art therapy is a form of therapy that uses this creative path to help children express their feelings and "speak" through art. It is a way of addressing emotional family or school issues in a safe and supportive environment. It can be particularly helpful during periods of big changes in their lives.
During the art therapy sessions, I encourage children to try a range of art materials and techniques, for example painting, clay, crafts, etc., and give them themes that cover different aspects of life (identity, body image, emotions, school, family, friends, dreams, etc.). Through this spontaneous and relaxing process, children can improve their self-awareness, self-confidence and feel more liberated!
How does art therapy help in stressful situations?
Art therapy can be especially useful after stressful events, such as the parents separation, loss of a loved person or serious illness and before/after a hospital operation. If you anticipate a difficult family situation, it can be helpful for a child to develop a therapeutic relationship prior to the event.
Parents should seek the help of an art therapist if they see the following signs:
1. Strong and persistent negative emotions, like prolonged crying.
2. Panic attacks.
3. Frequent angry outbursts and any kind of violence.
4. Emotional and/or developmental regression.
5. Social withdrawal.
6. Selective mutism.
How many sessions will she or he need?
It is really difficult to answer this question as all kids have different needs.
However, a minimum of 8 sessions is required for kids to feel comfortable and start trusting the therapist. Art has the power to offer instant relief to patients of all ages, but we need a certain number of meetings in order to have a reliable improvement in terms of the childs' behaviour.
How does a kid benefit from art therapy?
The objectives can vary according to the needs of each child. The first session is usually considered an evaluation session where objectives can be set in agreement with the parents and the child.
Some general art therapy objectives:
Improvement of self- awareness (drawings work as mirrors for kids)
Improvement of self-confidence (every artwork is an achievement)
Improvement of self-expression (images help children find easier words for their feelings)
Unblocking repressed feelings (art is relaxing and liberating when there is no judgement)
Improvement of communication skills (the empathy of the therapist is important here)
Should parents be present during the session?
This depends on the child's age and behaviour.
As the child is getting older, around 10-12- years old, the presence of a parents is unnecessary, unless there are family issues that need to be adressed too. However, parents might be asked to be present during the first art therapy session for a better evaluation of the situation and the child.
Are we supposed to discuss about sessions at home?
It is better to avoid discussing the content of the art therapy sessions at home during the therapeutic period. This may provoke tension and stress or even misunderstandings and fights due to the absence of the therapist. The therapist is the one who holds the session and keeps the emotional balance (space and time limits, reflection, aware of issues of transference and counter-transference).
Art therapy journals are recommended instead as a way of better understanding the therapeutic process and recording the progress made.