Art Therapy is a psychotherapy which uses the creative potential in children and teenagers to help them through the rocky times in their lives.
Who Art Therapy can Help
Art Therapy is a powerful and usually effective way of working with young people who have experienced or continue to experience hardship - whether historically they have experienced trauma, abuse or neglect or presently are experiencing a divorce, bereavement, bullying, arrival of a new sibling etc. Whatever it is that may be difficult to put into words, or even unimaginable in spoken language, can be expressed through the artwork.
Art therapy can be used to assist children and teenagers with a number of issues including:
Treating mental disorders such as schizophrenia or depression
Helping children understand and deal with physical disabilities
Supporting children with developmental difficulties or trauma
Understanding and treating behavioural problems such as ADHD and ADD
Living with Learning Disabilities
Treating eating disorders and phobias
How it Works
Children are naturally creative, and it is usually easier for them to draw a picture as opposed to answering questions directly. They may be reluctant or even hostile about discussing certain topics. Creating artwork is a non-threatening avenue that allows kids to tackle tough issues in creative ways. Talking to the children about their drawings or paintings can provide therapists with the opening they need to get at the heart of the problems affecting their young patients.
Teenagers are often more self-conscious about image making and may be reluctant at first to openly express themselves. Tactile materials - from executive toys to stress relieving gadgets - are provided, which can support them to just hang out, relax and eventually start playing and creating.
In the Art Therapy room image making can be used differently depending on the changing needs of the young person. Art making has a natural cathartic element, which by its very making can allow a release from pent up emotions. Art also has a symbolic language and with the help of the therapist, the young person can decipher the meaning of the picture and discusses the underlying issues that inspired the artwork. At other times the Art Therapy room is a world to escape into, away from the overwhelming stresses that daily living may entail.
Firstly we like to meet parents/carers and where necessary professionals, to discuss the background to the referral. Thereafter we suggest an initial assessment of 3 Art Therapy sessions with the young person. In the third session both the therapist and young person discuss whether to continue working together. If they agree to continue working then they agree to meet weekly for a number of months (usually 3 months), after which they review their work together and extend the contract or close as required. Whilst the young person is undertaking therapy, the therapist meets ideally monthly with the parents/carers and may liaise with professionals and schools.
Art Therapy reports are written on request for professional meetings, reviews and discharge.