art therapists work with children to:
reduce stress and anxiety
My work begins with children exploring ways to feel better and find joy. Many parents reach out with behaviour issues as a source of family stress and want the problems fixed. In my experience, the root of these behavioural issues is often a result of internal self-doubt, shame and guilt. The initial phase of therapy will focus on kids pursuing joy and mastering creative tools for expression. When children are feeling better and have improved their preception of self, they are more able to tackle the skill building required to manage behavioural changes, which often have softened. Once kids feel more stable, we focus on building coping skills, discovering alternative positive forms for personal expression and creating good mental health habits.
what is art therapy?
“Art therapy combines the creative process and psychotherapy, facilitating self-exploration and understanding. Using imagery, colour and shape as part of this creative therapeutic process, thoughts and feelings can be expressed that would otherwise be difficult to articulate.” (CATA)
Create Art and Feel Better! I believe that creating art can be an excellent way to calm down if upset or get a bad feeling out by putting it onto a page. Creating art can help you look at problems in a different way, imagine a different solution or ending, and generally feel better. I found it easier to create a visual for something that was bugging me than to talk about it. Getting these uncomfortable feelings out through a drawing or painting makes it easier to think and talk about the problem because there has been distance created by externalizing the problem.
Strong feelings are complicated and difficult for many individuals to identify and express particularly children. The use of art will help children to express feelings they cannot put into words. The artwork will then act as a starting point for dialogue that is tangible and easier for the child to reflect on. The practice of creating is an enjoyable and natural experience for children and would assist the child’s ability to uncovering feelings and cope better.
benefits of using art therapy:
expressive | art is an outward expression of energy, thoughts and feelings.
familiar | the process of creating art is a familiar one. many of the tools are readily available and do not require initiating instructions to get started.
whimsical | working creatively in a non-judgmental non-academic way allows for a joyful experience.
positive | being creative can often be enjoyable which can positively shift moods.
externalizing | creating artwork allows children to get out on paper issues that are challenging to express while providing a new perspective in which to reflect.
empowering | finding success in the process, improving skills and appreciation of mastery in art-making, works to strengthen individuals self-esteem.
concrete | art work remains with the child as a positive reminder of their creativity and accomplishments.
mindful | art making provides an opportunity to practice focus and encourages being present.