Art Therapy 101

Children love art but did you know that art can be more than just a fun way to fill in some time. When children work with a qualified art therapist are can be a way to improve a person’s physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Art therapy is a therapeutic technique which uses art as a creative means of expression to improve the emotional physical and mental well-being of people of all ages.

Art therapy is based on the idea that the creative process of art and self-expression, can help people to:

  • resolve conflicts and problems,
  • develop interpersonal skills,
  • manage behaviour,
  • reduce stress,
  • increase self-esteem and self-awareness
  • and achieve insight.

Art therapists work in the fields of counselling, healing, treatment, rehabilitation and psychotherapy. They work with people with a range of ages and diagnoses.

Art therapists have training in both therapy and in art. They are trained in human development and psychological theories as well as clinical practice. Art therapists often have training in another therapeutic discipline such as psychology, nursing, social work or occupational therapy, prior to training as an art therapist.

Art therapists are trained to pick up non-verbal symbols and metaphors expressed through the artistic process and which are often difficult to express in words. This can help them understand and develop the clients emotional state.

Art therapy can be particularly helpful for children with:

  • developmental disabilities,
  • social and emotional difficulties,
  • behavioural or mental health problems,
  • learning or physical disabilities,
  • neurological conditions,
  • or trauma.

Clients do not need to have any prior training or experience in art in order to benefit from up therapy and you do not need to be artistic in order to participate in therapy.

An art therapy session can involve a range of different art forms including painting, drawing, sculpture and other activities. The art therapist specifically chooses the activity to be of benefit and interest to the client. Materials and interventions are chosen to achieve the therapeutic goals and objectives of the session. Art therapists also rely on symbolism and metaphors expressed within art to help them interpret the clients feelings and concerns.

Goals within a therapy session may include :

  • increasing insights,
  • coping with stress,
  • working through traumatic experiences,
  • increasing thinking, memory or sensory abilities
  • or improving relationships.

The process of creating art can help with the development of the therapeutic relationship. Within the art session the child or adolescent will develop a trusting relationship and may become more open and expressive than any traditional talk-based therapy session. Through this relationship the child may be more open in expressing their emotions and concerns and in turn through the therapeutic relationship can help to build self-esteem.

Talking Matters now has a qualified art therapist available to work with children within our service. To find out more about this service and to discuss your child's specific needs, please call us on (08) 8255 7137.

Talking Matters provides speech pathology and occupational therapy for children. We have a range of service options including individual therapy in our office at bright, child friendly clinic in Elizabeth Downs as well as group programs, including groups for fussy eaters in school holidays.

Whether you live locally and can come in and see us, or are further afield and want to make use of our extensive range of free resources, we look forward to sharing our passion for helping kids learn and develop. If you are concerned about your child’s visit the Talking Matters website to see how we can help. browse our website or call us on (08) 8255 7137 to find out more.

For more ideas and resources for developing children’s speech, language, learning and social skills check our extensive Pinterest page. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter so you don’t miss out on what’s happening.

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