Art therapy for children can be very beneficial, especially for those with learning disabilities, speech disorders, emotional issues, or developmental problems. It is popular in schools and hospitals due to its healing and behavior management potential. Children who take part is art therapy have a chance to express themselves about topics that may be too difficult to vocalize. Whether drawing, painting, or writing poetry, the expressive therapy can increase confidence and self-awareness, relieve stress, or provide a coping mechanism for children who have emotional conflicts.
Schools sometimes offer art therapy for children. In addition to its behavior management possibilities, the therapy can help students develop social and problem-solving skills. The creative process can soothe and relax children who habitually cause disruptions in the classroom. A visual-verbal approach to assessing and providing for the needs of individual students can aid in the learning process. Students with learning disabilities, emotional issues, and speech or language disorders may be particularly good candidates for art therapy.
Hospitals offer art therapy for children because it can provide an outlet for an ill child’s emotions and fears. Young people sometimes cannot verbally express their fears of death or surgeries, but drawing images can help adults understand and provide comfort that is more focused. The creative process also may take young patients’ minds off their pain. For example, drawing pictures of themselves in settings outside the hospital may allow patients to temporarily forget about an illness. Displaying the colorful artwork can change the atmosphere of a child’s hospital room and lift his or her spirits.
Art therapy can increase children’s confidence, self-awareness, and provide them with insights into their own behaviors. Personalities, likes, and dislikes can strongly emerge during art therapy for children, and if the therapist responds with acceptance and interest, confidence can improve. By drawing, painting, or sculpting images in response to a therapist’s questions, a child may reveal certain themes or interests that could help with therapy or learning processes.
The outlet provided by art therapy can help abused children as well. In some cases, children have been told specifically to never tell of the abuse, but drawing pictures may allow them to convey the abuse without speaking about it. Discussing a child’s artwork can help build trust between a young victim of abuse and a therapist trained to provide art therapy for children. The drawings also provide tangible evidence of a victim’s progress, which could be useful if the child becomes discouraged or frustrated about the therapy process.