Why Art Therapy Works
When children or teens experience a traumatic event, common wisdom holds that they will recover well, given time, because kids are resilient. It is a comforting thought, and it is often even true. However, in those circumstances where the natural resilience of children is not enough, there are other options to help them cope with a major event. Of the plethora of therapies and self-help techniques, one that has helped a countless number of people is art therapy.
Art therapy is just what is sounds like, the use of artistic expression through drawing, painting, or sculpting to improve a person’s mental and emotional well-being. It has a number of applications both as a method of therapy and as one for diagnosis. Often people under severe emotional strain are better able to release the memories that are hurting them into art than they are into words spoken directly to a therapist. Children and teens usually do especially well with this therapy technique.
Parents afraid their children will not enjoy therapy or that they will feel resentment at going should look into this technique, as well as those with children that already have a particular interest in art. In the end, there is nothing to be lost in having them paint a picture, but there is everything to be gained.
My wife’s maid of honor at our wedding was an accomplished artist who became an art therapist. While i have no clinical examples to share from her work, I have heard many success stories over the years of children who were not able verbalize their fears getting relief by drawing the troubling object on paper. Also, movies and tv often portray the success of this approach.
I want to add two thoughts to my previous post. First, I learned just this morning that promoting art therapy is the national mission of Mrs. Mike Pence, our 2nd lady. Second, I realized that one component of adult coloring besides creative satisfaction is stress release which seems closely related to art therapy.