Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy based on play and creativity. By using children’s natural ways of expressing themselves and working through their feelings, art therapy helps kids to feel comfortable and takes the pressure off of talking.
How it works
When children are facing a challenge that feels overwhelming, often they don’t know how to identify and communicate exactly what’s happening. Asking them what’s wrong can lead to frustration, along with even more negative feelings.
Instead, art therapy acknowledges that verbal language is only one form of communication, and it’s not the most natural one for children. Art therapy uses play and creativity as a way for children to:
- express themselves
- share their thoughts and feelings
- practice their problem solving abilities
What happens during a session
During individual art therapy sessions, I spend time with your child one-on-one. Art therapy sessions are your child’s safe confidential space to work through things. I provide structure by offering specific invitations for your child to express, explore, and experiment.
Depending on your child’s preferences and our specific goals, I may offer traditional art making opportunities using pencil crayons, markers and paint; we may build something using fabric bits, recycled materials and a hot glue gun; or we might play with puppets and plastic animals as a way to explore their feelings.
Your child is always free to accept my invitation or suggest a new direction. This allows your child to experience a sense of control in a safe and appropriate way. Together we co-create what happens in the session. Through the process of trying things, working through creative challenges, and reflecting on the experience, the “work” of art therapy happens.
Each art therapy session provides an opportunity for your child to express themselves, learn tools for sharing thoughts and feelings, and tap into their problem solving abilities. They practice new skills that they can use beyond the art room.