Monday, July 20, 2020

Why art therapy works well for children

I am continuously amazed by the raw authenticity of children’s artwork. Compared to adults, creative expression comes naturally to children for communicating deep emotional content that they may not be able to put into words. After all, how many kids do you know who can articulate the underlying reasons for their difficult behaviors? However, the process of art making, under the guidance of an art therapist, is a highly effective way of accessing information that may be troubling the child. The art therapist is able to do that by using suitable art materials and providing directives.

Moreover, art therapy is a gentle and non-confrontational way of addressing difficult emotions that may be related to family, school, self-image, trauma, loss and so on. The art therapist can work through metaphors or symbols in the artwork without tackling the problem directly. For instance, a child who is being bullied at school may be able to work through the issue by sculpting the bully as an animal or an object rather than talking about the fear-inducing reality. Similarly, another child who may be experiencing divorce between parents can express feelings by drawing a landscape that is indicative of the difficult circumstances at home.

5- year-old boy processing his parent's divorce through his drawing

As a result, most children like coming for art therapy as it provides them relief through fun-based activities. Parents like the approach because it is a safe and effective way of tackling difficult situations/emotions and finding workable solutions without the burden of having to drag the child to therapy.