Art Therapy is very well suited to children. While it is sometimes difficult for them to talk, they can express themselves much more freely in their art work. The following are some of the instances when your child might benefit from art therapy , play therapy and/or counseling.
- Life Transition and Adjustment Problems: Did your child experience a huge change in his life and is acting out or withdrawn? The most common reason for seeking child therapy/art therapy is due to relational changes caused by coping with parental divorce or out of home placement. Losing the only home they knew or their primary attachment figures is traumatic for children. Your child may not be equipped to handle the difficult emotions such as despair, anger, out of control and hurt feelings. Art Therapy helps them to learn how to cope with the difficult emotions and for your child to regain a feeling of happiness.
- Depression and Anxiety: Children show depression differently than adults. Anxiety and depression in children may result in irritability, moodiness and anger outbursts. They may be withdrawn and cry easily. Art Therapy /Counseling helps children to identify the contributing factors of depression and anxiety and learn how to deal with stressors in healthier ways. Art Therapy is extremely effective for depressed children and children of pediatric bipolar disorder as it may allow them to express themselves more accurately.
- ADHD: Do you suspect your child may have ADHD? Did his school ask you to talk to his doctor? Children with ADHD/ADD may be defiant, aggressive toward peers, and do not work effectively. ADHD is a developmental disability that affects the child’s attention, impulse control, and ability to manage activity levels and emotions. With appropriate behavior modification techniques, guided by his parents, and medication management, children will function much better on a daily basis. I usually use a combination of Art Therapy and Talk Therapy during ADHD counseling and tailor the combination of techniques to each individual child. Art Therapy helps the child with ADHD to learn to manage his emotions and regain self confidence.
- Loss and Grief: Children grieve the loss of a loved one differently from adults. Art Therapy facilitates their expression. In art therapy your child will create something very special for the memory of the loved one.
- Anger Management: Using a special workbook for children’s anger management and other art therapy anger management activities , your child will learn to handle his/her anger without hurting others. We analyze how he/she usually express his anger and what he can do instead. Art Therapy for anger management in children can prove to be an effective alternative to traditional counseling.
- Neurodevelopment Issues: Art Therapy is a very effective treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder, developmental delays and learning disabilities. Art Therapy helps your child to feel better about himself. Art Therapy is an alternative treatment for children with autism. The children with Asperger’s and other forms of Autism learn emotional regulation and anger management. Art Therapy helps the children to increase normalized behaviors or foster their special talents and self esteem. Please see the Autism Spectrum Disorder page for more information.
The batik shown on this page was done by children with severe developmental disorders and physical challenges due to Cerebral Palsy. Creating art was pure joy for them and over 20 years ago it was working with them as a special needs educator that guided me to study Art Therapy. Even though children may not have abilities to draw sophisticated images, sometimes simply changing media can create something beautiful and stimulating.
- Chronic Illness: Copying with your child’s illness is one of the hardest things that parents could face. Individual art therapy and family art therapy can ease your anxiety and help you and your child to see the positive aspects of your life and fight the illness together.
In Pediatric Oncology clinics, Art Therapy is a part of cancer/leukemia treatment through the Child Life Program. Children were supported by the Art Therapy while they waited to see their doctor or receive chemotherapy.
Individual or Family Therapy?
As a parent, your involvement of your child’s therapy is very important. It is more likely that we will meet all together sometimes, separately and in addition to the child individual therapy. See the Fees/ Sessions Page to know more about how we work together.
Age of Children and Art Therapy
The children as young as 2 year old could benefit from Art Therapy. Children are able to express their feelings and thoughts in their art work with less hesitation than adults. Their artwork also reflects their developmental stages. In younger children, creation is focused on fun; as they get older, they are more conscious of their skills.
- Very Young Children: When children begin scribbling, they are amazed by how their movements leave a mark on the paper. In this age group, I use art media to stimulate their senses and want them to have fun as they develop skills. It is best for them to be accompanied by their parents/guardians. Art Therapy groups for children are available.
- Preschool/Kindergarten Age: By this time, children developing in a typical manner are able to make symbols and figures in their art. In Art Therapy, they can make stories based on their artwork to help them identify difficulties in their lives and alternative ways to deal with them.
- Elementary School: As they get older, children gain more abilities and skills but often they are not taught how to deal with their emotions. For example, they often blame others or tease others when they feel angry, disappointed and/or embarrassed. Art Therapy provides a unique opportunity to see issues visually and help children and their family members to face their problems together.
- Middle School: In addition to the issues listed for elementary school, children in the middle school age group experience physiological changes and may be moody and more oppositional. If the child likes art, Art Therapy can help increase their self esteem and self awareness.
- Adolescence: This is a time when young people begin to focus more on how they relate to the world around them and choose their future goals. The emphasis of Art Therapy for this age group is how to express their more advanced thoughts and feelings with more complicated techniques and appropriate art media.