Art Therapy an Alternative to Traditional Therapy
• Guest post by Jedda from Creative Little Ones •
I have heard so many parents say we don’t do any art at home, I can’t handle the mess. Believe me I get it, becoming a mum I now totally understand the stress of doing any sort of art and craft with your child in your home.
I am an art therapist and still freak out when my 22 month old son runs through the house with paint dripping off his hands as I madly chase him with baby wipes screaming “don’t touch the lounge”.
But I know the benefits of art making outweigh the clean up and I hope to give you some background of what art therapy is and how making art with your child will benefit you and your child’s wellbeing.
What is Art Therapy?
Art Therapy is a form of expressive therapy that uses the creative process of making art to improve a child’s physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Art therapy can help children relieve stress, increase awareness of self and develop healthy and effective coping skills. A child does not have to be good at art to enjoy art therapy.
Art making is so valuable in the early years because it allows children to process their world and to deal with sometimes scary and big emotions in a safe way. Providing support to children aged from three years old to eighteen years, I have seen how children feel more comfortable expressing themselves through drawing and painting than from direct questioning.
I would like to share one child’s story of how art therapy helped.
12 year old Sam was referred to see an art therapist/counsellor as he was having trouble at school. Sam had been expelled due to a physical altercation with another student, Sam was also lashing out at his parents at home. He was in year 6 and his parents were worried about him starting high school the following year.
I met with Sam for a one hour sessions weekly over five months, I asked him to draw the troubles he was having at school. After a few sessions Sam opened up and drew images of being bullied and said he had trouble making friends. He also said he found it hard to talk to his parents about his feelings as he was embarrassed and he didn’t think they would listen.
Over the first few months of attending art therapy Sam’s principle reported that Sam was coping better at school and wasn’t having anymore anger outbursts. His parents said they noticed a difference in his behaviour toward them and he seemed a lot happier and confident in himself.
In my last art therapy session with Sam I asked him to draw how he felt when he first started the sessions and how he felt now. He named his art work
“No matter what lies ahead never give up”.
This is one example of how art therapy can help some children express themselves. Sam’s self esteem and confidence grew and he started to gain new friends once starting high school.
Art at Home
Making art with your child is a great bonding tool and studies prove it boosts your child’s self esteem, confidence, emotional wellbeing and cognitive development.
Some art therapy topics to do at home with your child aged 4-12 years
Ask them to draw:
The best thing about their day
What makes them sad/angry/happy/excited
Their favorite thing to do
Their favorite memory
Their favorite holiday
If they could wish for anything what would it be
Five things they are grateful for
Activities for toddlers
Draw different faces, happy/angry/sad/excited/etc.
Jedda from Creative Little Ones
I am passionate about children’s wellbeing (mental health) and have a love for art, combining those passions I am excited to bring an art therapy service Creative Little Ones to the local area.
Creative Little Ones provides a fun and relaxed space for children to express themselves creatively while gaining social skills.
Creative Little Ones art therapy groups run weekly.
Carer and Bubs (18months – 4years) on Tuesday and Friday mornings
Oyster Bay Community Hall. $20per session
Monday and Tuesday Afternoons 4-5pm for Children aged 5-12 years
$25 per session
Individual counselling sessions available.