Art Therapy For Children
Art Therapy can be a fun and developmental way for children to understand themselves and their world. Pictures can be a way that children can communicate difficult feelings and situations when they don’t have the word to do this. Most children have a ready ability to express themselves through art materials. They enjoy art and so coming
to do Art Therapy can be so beneficial holistically. Art Therapy works with childrens’ strengths at the same time as their weaknesses.
Communicating through creativity can break down old unhelpful stories we tell ourselves and build up:
- self esteem
- coping skills
- self acceptance
- self awareness
- our ability to find our own answers to life’s challenges
Questions About Art Therapy with Children
What kind of thing do we do in an art therapy session?
Each session is tailored to the individual child and what the child brings to the session in the
moment. Sometimes a theme will emerge that a child will work around for weeks at a time. Art Therapy can be led by the therapist at times, although it is more often led by the child and the issues that they bring to the session on the day. The therapist will facilitate the child to explore life situations in order to gain self awareness and build a strong sense of self. Worries will surface in their own time when the child is feeling strong enough to meet them. I will sometimes offer a certain activity if I feel that this would be of use to the child. It is always the child’s choice, and is different to an art class in that the child leads the way and the doing is important as well as the meaning and the finished artwork isn’t judged, or valued good or bad. The creative process and the art-making happens as a ‘way in’ to talking about a child’s life circumstances. I will help the child make links in his life, and develop his emotional understanding. Art materials can be the traditional paint, markers and clay; as well as collage, or sculpture from boxes or found objects, or even exploring textures and sensory experiences through making potions. Sensory experiences can help to develop connections for the child to her body and to her feelings at the same time.
Can we talk sometime after the session to follow up?
I will talk with parents of children attending art therapy as much as is needed. This generally takes the form of a catch up every 6 sessions. I am open to answering any questions in-between if need arises. What is talked about with the child is kept confidential, so the child feels safe to bring whatever he needs to the art therapy sessions, and the catch ups are of a general nature as to whether the therapy is progressing, or useful things to know for home-life.
What sort of things are we hoping to find out during the sessions?
I am trained to notice signs of what might be the underlying cause of problems for the child. This can be helpful to adjust home or school life to suit the child better. I will be endeavouring to understand the child’s inner world, and plan to work with things in order for the child to understand themselves and their situation better. This process will build self esteem, and release stuck emotions.
Will I make concrete suggestions?
Yes, sometimes home-life can be structured in such a way as to benefit the needs of the child in order for them to live a fuller life.
How many sessions will a child need?
That depends on the needs of each child. Generally the first 6 weeks are spent getting to know the child and forming an assessment of her needs. After that time the relationship begins to form in a solid way and work can begin. Every child is different and will approach the therapy room in different ways and at different speeds. Therapy can vary from 12 weeks to over a year. The longer the commitment to the process, the longer lasting the change will be.