Art therapy for children, youth and parental guidance
With art, children can express themselves freely, creatively, and safely.
Art therapy with children
When a child exhibits worrying behaviors at school or at home, art therapy can be helpful. Among the most common causes for children to come to art therapy are emotional regulation difficulties, which can manifest as tantrums and crying, parents’ divorce, illness or death of a close family member, low self-esteem, concentration difficulties, difficulties in social skills and avoidance of social connections, fears and anxieties, hard time accepting boundaries, or even physical difficulties caused by emotional factors, such as bedwetting, encopresis, selective muteness, tics (involuntary movements), etc.
In art therapy, children can engage in these issues in a safe way through symbolic work with art materials within a supportive and non-judgmental environment.
Art therapy with youth
Adolescence is a time of extreme physical, emotional, and social changes. Adolescents begin to separate from their parents and become closer to their peers, discovering themselves and the world. The process can be challenging, so they need guidance and support.
Teenagers seek therapy for many reasons, such as low self-esteem, body issues, struggles with socialization, loneliness, formation of sexual identity, exam anxiety, depression, etc.
During art therapy, adolescents can freely and openly express what they are experiencing through conversation and art-making, and have the feeling of being seen and listened to in a private, safe, and non-judgmental space. Teenagers must be part of the decision-making process for starting therapy, and they should be able to express their opinions regarding the choice of therapist and the therapeutic space.
Children's lives are shaped most significantly by their parents, so their involvement in the therapeutic process is essential, especially at a young age. Meetings with parents are held once a month, or more often if necessary. Our goal is to explore the family's communication patterns and the child's unique needs together.
Besides the common discourse, I encourage parents to experiment with creative processes to stimulate new ways of thinking and observing their children.
Parental guidance may be a misleading name given the nature of the meeting. While practical tools can definitely be given, the main goal is to work together to understand the dynamics between parents and children.