A part of growing up is learning how to be your best self, and if there is a lack of that this can make you feel resentful and have a poor self image. Art therapy can be used to help improve self esteem and manage anger in children. There is not one way to create art, and encouraging creative expression is a way that art therapists help build self awareness and problem-solving abilities with their clients. The process of making an artwork and telling a story about that helps to more easily access the challenges the child may face with their distorted perception of themselves.

Art therapy provides an intervention which includes learning to cope with difficult emotions such as anger or shame. Art therapy is a great way for the child to be able to make their opinions known and have their story heard. This is beneficial because the therapy is meant to help them become more self aware, bring together their thoughts from what they have seen and experienced and form a new strategy to cope, building problem solving skills and strengthening their relationships. Often, anger and its source can be difficult to talk about at the start, so structure in the sessions and setting expectations of respect is required. In the later sessions, as the child gets a chance to delve into their creative practice and tell their story, the instances where they would become frustrated and experience negative emotion would become apparent in their work and be addressed by the therapist.

Particularly with pre-teen girls, art therapy can be a great way to empower them to make positive choices. This is because the making process requires decision making, and this can strengthen their view of themselves as decision makers in their own lives. When in the pre- adolescent stage (7-11 years) children have progressed in their development so that their concern about their relationships with their surrounding environment and relationships with peers is increased. This is an ideal time to address any issues they may be having as their perception of “self” and the world is still forming. In artwork, which has a well documented history of identifying stages of a child’s development, the therapist can observe their visual language and provide addition support.  Through making art together in this stage children tend to become more detailed in their work, reveal more of their logical thinking, and develop self-confidence and self-esteem. Art is also less confrontational and allows for practice in describing thoughts and feelings to resolve emotional intensity.

The goal of art therapy in people who have self esteem or anger challenges is to promote mastery and the reframing of the self, rather than harbour feelings of inferiority that would cause stress. Our art therapists in Montreal, Brossard, and West Island are ready to provide in-person and online sessions to you and your loved ones! Reach out now at info@montrealarttherapy.com or by calling us at 514-999-3414.


By: Claire T

Edited by: Reyhane N