Art therapy is an incredibly powerful modality for treating mental health conditions in children. This type of therapy uses art and creative expression to help children work through emotions, worries, and trauma. A child therapist trained in art therapy can create a safe and supportive environment for children to explore their feelings and gain insight. Art therapy allows children to communicate what they might not be able to express in words and can be extremely beneficial in helping them work through their issues. With the help of an experienced child therapist, art therapy can be an invaluable tool for treating mental health conditions in children.

The Magic of Communication and Expression Through Art

Art has a unique way of transcending language and allowing individuals to express themselves in a deeply meaningful way. For children, who may struggle with verbalizing their thoughts and emotions, art therapy provides a powerful tool for communication and expression.

When a child engages in art therapy, they are given the freedom to explore and create without judgment. Through various art mediums such as drawing, painting, and sculpting, they can externalize their internal world, giving a voice to their feelings and experiences.

One of the remarkable aspects of art therapy is that it goes beyond the limitations of traditional talk therapy. Children who may find it difficult to articulate their thoughts or are unable to put words to their emotions can find solace and relief in the process of creating art.

Art therapy provides a safe and non-threatening environment where a child therapist, who specializes in this modality, can guide and support them. Through their art, children are able to express emotions, process traumatic experiences, and gain insights into their own thoughts and behaviors.

The magic of communication and expression through art is not limited to a single session. Over time, art therapy can help children build self-awareness, improve coping skills, and enhance their overall mental well-being.

If your child is struggling with emotional or behavioral challenges, consider the power of art therapy. Our board-certified art therapist is here to help your child find their voice, discover their inner strengths, and create a path towards healing and growth.

Why is Art Therapy a Good Modality for Children?

Art therapy is a highly effective modality for children because it provides them with a safe and non-threatening way to express themselves. Children may not always have the verbal skills to articulate their emotions or experiences, but through art, they can communicate their thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a tangible and creative way.

Art therapy allows children to explore their inner world and externalize their emotions in a visual form. It provides a space for self-expression and self-discovery, allowing them to process difficult emotions and experiences that they may not be able to put into words.

Art therapy also helps children develop important coping skills and resilience. By engaging in the creative process, they learn to problem-solve, regulate their emotions, and gain a sense of control over their lives. This can be particularly beneficial for children who have experienced trauma or are struggling with mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression.

Additionally, art therapy provides a supportive and nurturing environment. Working with a trained child therapist, who specializes in art therapy, ensures that the child receives individualized attention and guidance. The therapist can help the child explore their artwork, facilitate discussions about their emotions, and help them make connections between their art and their experiences.

Overall, art therapy is a valuable modality for children as it fosters self-expression, emotional growth, and healing. If your child is struggling with mental health challenges, consider booking a session with our board-certified art therapist to provide them with the support and tools they need to thrive.

Common Techniques Used with Kids

Art therapy offers a range of techniques that are specifically tailored to engage children and help them express their emotions and experiences. These techniques, guided by a trained child therapist, create a safe and nurturing environment for children to communicate and heal. Here are some common techniques used in art therapy for kids:

1. Art Therapy Assessments: Child therapists may use assessments to understand a child's emotional state and any potential mental health conditions. These assessments can include drawing tasks like "Draw a Person" or "House-Tree-Person" that allow the therapist to gain insight into the child's thoughts and feelings.

2. Visual Art Techniques: Using different art materials and techniques, children can express their emotions, thoughts, and experiences visually. This can include spontaneous drawing, collages, sculptures, mandalas, or drawing their family. By discussing their choices and themes, the therapist can help the child explore and process their emotions.

3. Dramatic Techniques: Through psychodrama techniques like the "empty chair" or family sculpting, children can act out scenarios and explore their emotions in a safe and controlled way. These techniques allow the child therapist to better understand the child's disorder, patterns, and provide opportunities for emotional regulation.

4. Writing Techniques: Writing assignments such as letter writing, journaling, or poetry can help children express complicated feelings and experiences. These techniques provide a constructive outlet for emotional expression and can foster post-traumatic growth.

5. Movement/Somatic Techniques: Movement techniques like dance and pantomime enables children to physically express their emotions and explore new behaviors. This allows them to develop a deeper understanding of their emotions and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

6. Music Techniques: Appreciating and identifying music that elicits different mood states can teach children mindfulness skills, mood management, and enhance their ability to express emotions. Activities like drum circles, playing instruments together, and group listening can further support the development of these skills in social settings.

Overall, these techniques provide children with a variety of creative ways to communicate, process emotions, and develop resilience. By working with a trained child therapist in art therapy, children can find healing and growth through self-expression.

Mental Health Conditions that Can Be Treated through Art Therapy

Art therapy has been proven to be a powerful modality for treating a variety of mental health conditions in children and adolescents. With the guidance of a trained child therapist, art therapy can provide a safe and creative outlet for children to express and process their emotions.

Children who experience anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can greatly benefit from art therapy. Through the use of art materials, children can externalize their inner struggles and fears, allowing them to gain a better understanding of their emotions and experiences.

For children who are dealing with psychosis or medical conditions like cancer and traumatic brain injury (TBI), art therapy can provide a sense of control and empowerment. Creating artwork can help these children regain a sense of identity and agency in the face of their illness or condition.

Art therapy can also be effective for children who are struggling with family or marriage concerns. By engaging in art-making activities, children can explore their family dynamics and communicate their thoughts and feelings in a non-verbal way.

In addition, art therapy has shown positive outcomes in treating children with low self-esteem, substance use disorders, and eating disorders. Through the art-making process, children can build self-confidence, develop healthier coping strategies, and improve their body image and self-perception.

If your child is experiencing any of these mental health conditions, consider booking a session with our board-certified art therapist today. They will work with your child to create a safe and supportive environment for them to explore their emotions and heal through art. Art therapy truly has the power to transform the lives of children and adolescents, offering them a path toward healing and self-discovery.

Book with Our Board Certified Art Therapist Today

Are you looking for a qualified and compassionate child therapist who specializes in art therapy? Look no further than Sarah Cupka, LCAT our board-certified art therapist. Sarah has a passion for working with populations of trauma of all ages, particularly children. Her journey of healing from intimate partner violence has inspired her to help others on their path to recovery.

Sarah completed her Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling and Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Long Island University Post. During her studies, Sarah completed several internships, gaining valuable experience working with children and adolescents in both individual and group art therapy settings. She has witnessed firsthand the transformative power of art therapy in helping children communicate and express themselves in ways that words often cannot.

As a board-certified art therapist, Sarah is committed to providing a safe and supportive space for children to explore their emotions and develop healthy coping skills. Whether your child is struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma, or other mental health conditions, art therapy can be a powerful modality for healing.

Don't wait any longer to give your child the support they need. Book a session with Sarah, our board-certified art therapist, and begin the journey toward healing and growth. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. Your child deserves the transformative benefits of art therapy.

Sending Love & Light,

Jamie Vollmoeller, LCSW

In todays society I feel many people, especially the younger generations are just completely absorbed in technology. They stare mindlessly into their smart phones, I-pad, laptop etc. and unfortunately miss the beauty that surrounds them. It can be a very humbling and awe inspiring experience when you realize the vastness of nature that surrounds you; even in midst of heavily trafficked suburban areas or on your drive to work, nature is pervasive. 

Making Nature Fun

Walking through your local parks, forests, etc. with your children and really looking around and enjoying the present moment yields a much different experience than that of what many experience in todays modern society.  It promotes mindfulness, connectedness, togetherness and an appreciation for our earth. Getting your child away from the screens and bringing them through the trails of one of your local parks can be a great way to facilitate that connectivity between your surroundings and your family. To take it a step further, learning about the local plant life and the role it plays in your environment will not only deepen the bond that you and your child form with nature and your local habitat, but can also be a deeply satisfying and rewarding experience; soon enough your child may even be teaching you a few things.  If just getting your little one away from paw patrol or bubble guppies and out into nature is enough of a task right now, that is perfectly fine. Maybe once out into the woods you create your own show (Pine Cone Patrol) that can only be experienced out in the wild (you would have to come up with the characters, character development, plot, illustrations, lighting, etc.; I can’t do everything). 

Research on Benefits of Being in Nature

If the prospect of leaving the warm comfy couch cushions that have molded to the shapes of you and your little ones bodies is still too uncomfortable of a thought, listen up because there has actually been some very interesting research on the benefits of immersing oneself in nature and how it may benefit your overall health (I don’t think watching a few episodes of man vs. wild will have the same therapeutic effect).One such study conducted by Repke, Berry, Conway, Metcalf, Hensen and Phelan (2018) found that study participants who scored high on items determining their accessibility to nature (accessibility to nature measured as prevalence of parks or other pleasant natural features nearby, amount of time spent outdoors and how safe one feels being outdoors in the area they live) found that those that scored high on the accessibility to nature measure also showed statistically significant higher scores on mental health measures. Another interesting finding in this study is that those participants who had increased accessibility to nature also showed lower scores on a task that measured impulsivity in decision-making. More interesting yet, participants place of residence was also examined to assess their proximity to nature (natural land cover) in their area. Interestingly enough, it was found that geospatial proximity of the participants to nature had no significant effect on health measures or reducing impulsive decision-making.

These findings are interesting in that they may suggest that there is not so much a link between your proximity to nature and mental/physical health, but rather your relationship with the nature in your surrounding area is what positively impacts your health. Let’s be honest, we could all use some decreases in impulsivity and definitely decreases in stress! Knowing that simply exposing yourself to nature (No, not in that way!) can potentially provide these benefits for you and your child (did I mention it’s free…), why would you not take advantage of this? Go out there and hug a tree; connect with your children, your environment and become healthier in the process. 

Stay Shining,

Jamie Vollmoeller, LCSW

Reference:

Repke MA, Berry MS, Conway LG, III, Metcalf A, Hensen RM, Phelan C (2018) How does nature exposure make people healthier?: Evidence for the role of impulsivity and expanded space perception. PLoS ONE 13(8): e0202246. https:// doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0202246 

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