aerial view of a jar of pencil crayons

Individual Art Therapy

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.

My approach

woman smiling and holding a bear puppet

Rubi Garyfalakis,

Registered Psychotherapist,
Registered Art Therapist

I’m warm, soft-spoken, playful, and consistent.

I believe in your child’s inherent awesomeness, and I will share it with them every chance I get. Often, children feel good about themselves and their accomplishments when leaving a session. The acceptance they experience in the art room, paired with the gentle encouragement to try again, to solve artistic problems, and to trust their abilities, contrasts the experience they may be having outside of the therapy room where things aren’t going so well.

I’ve found that when children are given the opportunity to experience acceptance, enjoyment, and encouragement without fear of failure or negative consequences, it becomes a powerful motivator for them to find their own solutions to their problems.

I believe that your child is creative and resourceful. They have what it takes to overcome difficulties. I hope to provide a safe space where they can discover this for themselves.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is art therapy only for kids?

No! Self-expression through creativity is a lifelong opportunity. Children often connect well with art therapy because their natural forms of expression and self reflection are through art and play. Although I mainly provide sessions for children, art therapy can be a great fit for individuals of all ages who feel less comfortable with talking and would prefer to be doing something.

Is art therapy appropriate for non-speaking children?

Yes! There are so many non-verbal ways we can connect and communicate. Talking is not necessary for the process – that’s one of the things I love about it!

How long is an art therapy session?

Each art therapy session is 50 minutes long.

How many sessions will my child need?

The number of sessions required depends on your goals for therapy and your child’s unique needs. In our first meeting we will discuss this further and come up with a plan together.

How often will my child attend therapy?

Most clients attend art therapy weekly, every other week, or once a month. The recommended frequency is determined by your family’s unique goals and needs.