Art Therapy For Children

As a parent or a sibling of a young child, we want to do everything in our power to make sure that they are safe and sound. If a child happens to fall ill or becomes prone to a disorder or a discomfort, we will desperately search for the right remedies and answers to shield them from pain. Yet, if the problem that a child is experience has to do with their mental, those “right” answers can start to fall in a grey area. A child won’t be able to express all of their emotions or articulate what they’re going through as well as an adult would.

With that in mind, sometimes a child who is showing consistent signs of extreme stress, social anxiety, or a learning disability is prescribed art therapy to form a better peace of mind. Art therapy is one of the many safe methods out that that can help children find practice ways to gain stronger self-awareness and consistent focus on the task at hand. They can form useful skills all while enjoying themselves with a new art project with every session. Think about it, some of our most prized possessions and happiest memories from grade school come from the activities that pushed our competitive or creative side. There’s no wonder why nearly every four-year old wants to show their friends and family the clay bowl or portrait of dog. They had fun and want to share the positive emotions they gained with the world! If you know a child who might benefit from art therapy, keep reading as we look at the most common art forms it uses and the benefits it provides.

Anyone can benefit from using art therapy.

Ways Art Therapy Is Used

Since the act of art surpasses the need for using language, especially with very young children, patients can communicate easily and without fear. Art therapy can include using a variety of colors, shapes, vibrant paint strokes, and pencil marks for children to access their feelings inside. One example of a therapy session originated from Margaret Naumburg in 1904 who asked her clients to draw and describe their dreams from the night before. This act allowed her clients – who ranged from both young and old – to better process their inner thoughts and understand what stress might be present in their lives.

Fast forward to today and the three most popular methods of active imagination therapy, gestalt art therapy, and third hand are still commonly used. Active imagination therapy was influenced by therapist Carl Jung and encourages the client to practice free association while producing art with words or images that come first to find. Gestalt art therapeutic techniques encourage clients to use the art along with language instead to interpret the world around them. This is best when they have high stress and are yearning to problem-solve certain issues. Finally, third hand is guided by therapists to assist the client in producing art by helping them develop images together. This is often done through using the mechanics of media and allows the client and therapist to develop a strong bond throughout the art therapy process.

Benefits Of Art Therapy

There are many benefits that come with using art therapy that are important to mention.  For younger children, art therapy helps them promote a better sense of self-expression, facilitate more positive perspectives on events in their life, and promote a stronger sense of self independence from the obstacles that come their way. With the help of an art therapist, the child can slowly work through difficult feelings or experiences that they can’t exactly talk about verbally. As a result, through using their imagination and past recollection, the therapy sessions can help them organize their thoughts better than letting their minds wander aimlessly.

As a younger child who loved doing art, I can definitely say that setting time aside each day to at least do some free drawing or draw to the melodies of certain songs helped me destress. I remember the joy of having a sixty-four large crayon box and an empty drawing pad to create what I wanted at the time. Sometimes I drew my friends, my pets, or painted a picture of an entirely fictional story. Either way, I had an outlet to zone in my emotions from the day instead of taking it out on my parents or someone else. While I may have not had as many responsibilities or reasons to stress as I have now, it was nice to have a blank sheet of paper to express those innermost feelings and communicate what I was struggling with without having to say a word. I’m sure that even with the technology that young children grew up with today, they still appreciate having art tools in their hands and the opportunity to draw whatever their heart desires. .

Moving Forward [H2]

Children of any age, whether they have special needs and not, may not have the right language skills yet to fully express themselves to the people around them. Every child still has an important voice that should heard as art can unlock their inner imagination and help them engage more fully with their environment. Your job as a parent, sibling, or friend is to make sure the child feels safe to start the therapy process and listened to if they have any concerns. Younger children tend to have a lot of questions, so it’s imperative that you don’t brush them away. If you also want to learn more about what art therapy services are available, don’t hesitate to look up what is located in your area and recommended for your child’s situation. You’ll feel better knowing what all your options are before making a decision that could leave a huge impact on your loved one’s wellbeing!

Art therapy is highly effective to improve mental health.

 

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