4 Ways Art Therapy Can Help Children and Adolescents

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Art therapy is a licensed mental health profession. It combines both psychology and art to evaluate and treat people of all ages and abilities. Art therapy can be beneficial in individual sessions and in groups, depending on the needs of the client. Here are four areas that children and adolescents benefit from art therapy interventions.

1. Self-Expression

Art Therapy provides children with a creative modality in which to express themselves. It can help children with developmental, cognitive and emotional growth. Art can facilitate emotional growth by being a natural container for emotions, a natural outlet for emotions and a place to release impulses. The inherent qualities of art making provide a client with choice and freedom of self-expression.

2. Communication

The natural creativity of a child makes art therapy a great treatment option. The combination of both visual and verbal expression gives children more opportunities to communicate. When a child struggles with language, colors and symbols can be used as a non-verbal language and way of relating to the therapist. Art therapy can also help children with social skills, communication, sensory regulation and integration, anxiety and self-expression.

3. Trust and Relationship Building

When seeing a new client, the art therapist begins by using both the art process and the product to evaluate the child’s motor, cognitive and social skills. The therapeutic relationship is very important and is established during the first session and continues through the course of treatment. After an initial session, the art therapist creates goals based on the child’s abilities and challenges.

4. Executive Functioning

In each session, the child’s goals and their current presentation help the art therapist choose appropriate art materials and directives for that session. Some materials that might be used during an art therapy session range from something that requires very few steps like crayons and paper to something advanced requiring multiple steps like designing and creating a clay sculpture, which can be helpful for a child with ADHD.

Find an Art Therapist

Each art therapy session is a new opportunity for children to grow and learn. Interested in finding an art therapist for your child? Search the American Art Therapy Association provider database today.

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