Art Therapy is one of the most accessible forms of psychotherapy for children and young people. Often young people struggle to express their feelings in words particularly if they are experiencing challenging emotions due to a bereavement. However, art can be an easier way of expressing how they feel. For example, pressing a pencil down and making red marks might be a way of expressing anger. Painting a black circle may show depression or hopelessness.
With the help of our trainee art therapist, the young person will explore feelings that arise as they create art and work on strategies to manage challenging feelings. Art therapy can also help young people to better understand themselves and improve their self-esteem.
It is a myth that you need be good at art to benefit from art therapy. Art therapy is not an art lesson. Unlike a painting class, the aim of art therapy is not to create a perfect image. Instead, the aim is to explore how you feel and process this in a containing environment. Art therapy is a safe space where there is no judgement.
Play Therapy offers children between the ages of 3 and 13 a secure space in which they can process and play out their feelings. Play is a child’s natural form of self-expression and the way they learn about their world and their own feelings, and therapeutic play builds on this. Children choose from a broad range of toys and art, music and drama materials for creative play, and choose how to play with these in a way that helps them to understand and express their feelings and ultimately develop greater resilience. Some children may play out traumatic or difficult life experiences in order to make sense of their past and cope better with their life now. Children who experience upsetting events such as losing someone they love, or the difficult feelings arising from pre-bereavement or bereavement, can use play to communicate at their own level and at their own pace without feeling pressured.
If you are interested in finding out more about play therapy, the Play Therapy UK website provides a wealth of information: https://playtherapy.org.uk/