One of the main goals of individual art therapy sessions for children is to improve the family dynamics and to work with parents in a systemic way to eventually help the client (child) to overcome emotional and/or behavioral distress. Art therapists acknowledge the importance of working with parents even though they may spend more time with the child rather than the parent.
Family art therapy is a therapeutic modality that has been used in the field of child psychiatry and psychology, when the focus of the sessions is helping both the child and the parent to learn alternative ways of thinking, acting, and reacting. Art therapy interventions in a family session contains a series of creative, imaginative, symbolic, non-verbal and expressive tasks. The art therapist’s role remains the same: the provider of a safe environment; the facilitator of self-expression. In this safe environment, the parent-child dyad communicates through “creation”. The goal of family art therapy sessions is to alleviate emotional stress, strengthened attachments, and improve communication and interactions. The parent(s) in this dyad is guided to follow the child’s developmental abilities so there is no pressure on making an “art work”. They will also interact with the child in a playful and imaginative way ; and while being present for the child, parents are encouraged to experience and feel the “good-enough parenting”.
Who can benefit from family art therapy?
It is suggested that families who have experienced traumas, chronic and acute illnesses (e.g., cancer), aggression and violence, death of loved ones, and complicated divorces and separations try family art therapy. Children can bond with their parents over expressing similar feelings towards life events and parents will have a better understanding of their children’s reaction to these events.
To obtain more information about our family art therapy sessions, please visit our website at www.montrealarttherapy.com or call us at 514-999-3414.