ART THERAPY FOR CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
Children express themselves naturally and give us a glimpse into their inner world through creative expression and play. Sometimes it can be especially difficult for a child to verbally articulate what they are feeling, therefore creating confusion in how to best help them. Art therapy is a way to bridge this gap by offering children an alternative means of communication in a setting where they can express themselves freely.
Through building trust with the therapist and the consistency of coming to therapy on a weekly basis, the child will begin to feel safe enough to express their challenges and fears creatively, and in a supportive environment. The dialogue that ensues surrounding the art they create gently provides the child with insight and understanding into their subjective inner experience. This process reduces emotional stress and allows the child to cope at their own pace.
Adolescence can be a confusing time of change, where the young person is discovering his or her place in the world. Due to the stressful nature of this period, adolescents may experience challenges such as anxiety, stress, strained relationships with family members, social isolation, and difficulty with self-image. Art therapy can provide an outlet for adolescents to examine some of the difficult emotions that ensue during the often-challenging transition from childhood to adulthood.
Art therapy can be helpful for children and adolescents who are experiencing difficulties in several domains:
Personal: low self-esteem, poor self-image
Emotional: difficulty regulating emotions, emotional outbursts, crying
Social: difficulty with social interactions, bullying
Family: tensions between family members or siblings
Behavioral: difficulty adhering to boundaries, behavioral outburst
Transitions: loss of a family member, addition of a family member, changes in the family or environment, divorce