There is no doubt in the importance of creativity and play in the development of children. Both researchers and clinicians emphasis on providing enough time and space for the kids for them to re-experience their daily happenings in a different circumstance, where they have thorough control over everything. Try and error in art/play activities, help children in developing decision-making and problem-solution skills while helping them make more sense out of their daily experiences. Art therapy provides such try and error space for your kids.
Kids with behavioural problems, anxiety disorders, depression, school refusal behaviour, divorce reaction, peer/ sibling conflicts, unresolved grief, anger issues, temper tantrums, reactions to life transitions, bullying/intimidation, low self-esteem, Enuesis (bed-wetting), etc… can benefit from art therapy to diminish the problematic behaviours.
If you are looking for a child psychologist for your kid, you may consider art therapy beforehand. An art therapist, specialised in working with children, can help your kid re-experience his/her daily problems and issues through the help of art activities, play, story-telling, role-play with poppets, etc. In most cases, your kid does not require to be diagnosed (or labeled) but needs to be given the time and space to explore his/her world, experiences, memories, fears, anxieties, and disabilities in a safe place and with her/his own pace. Although an art therapist is not entitled to diagnose, she is competent in working with your kid to explore his/her fears, anxieties, sadness, depression, identity issues, anger issues, frustrations and disappointments. Therefore, in a more than relaxed space with no pressure of being labeled, the kid has enough time to process and explore self.
Benefits of art therapy for kids
Children often have difficulties expressing themselves to their parents and peers due to numerous reasons, one of the main reasons would be a lack of necessary vocabulary and words to describe the thoughts and feelings. This could cause distress through being unable to communicate their thoughts and emotions. The lack of communicating thoughts and emotions may introduce emotional and/or behavioral issues as children go through important stages growing up into adolescence. Moreover, if these emotional and behavioral issues are not addressed properly, they may experience difficulties in interpersonal relationships and academic settings that other children their age would not.
Art Therapy can provide an opportunity to that by providing structure to the child’s life, allowing them to communicate their thoughts and emotions through the creative expression of art. Being able to express these important thoughts and emotions through artistic activities, and introspectively understanding what they mean, is important for growth and healing which benefits the quality of life for the child.
The benefits are as wide as the application of Art Therapy, like being able to communicate oneself when previously unable and healing from the traumatic experiences of childhood. Additionally, the child will improve their response to stress through their ability to better express and understand complex thoughts and emotions.