Updated: Sep 21, 2021
Art is powerful in all of its forms; whether it is acting, singing, dancing, drawing a picture, or writing a poem, art is a medium for expression and a tool for healing. Art Therapy is an integrative service, facilitated through a trained professional, that combines the creative art-making process, applied psychological theory, and the psychotherapeutic relationship to promote “cognitive and sensory-motor functions, foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress…” (American Art Therapy Association, 2017). The integration of kinesthetic, sensory, perceptual, and symbolic opportunities invites alternative modes of reception and communication that may not be apparent by verbal communication alone. Art Therapy as prevention, intervention, and treatment methodology has the potential to empower individuals and communities and transform society.
Alessandra Macca, Register Mental Health Intern and Certified Art Therapist at Cypress Wellness Center compiled a list of reasons why you might want your child to see an art therapist:
# 1 Sensory stimulation
Most children enjoy art or making messy projects.
# 2 Verbalization is not a barrier anymore
Art is the precursor to language so it is more natural for them to create an image and talk about that than sit in a room and be questioned for words that may yet exist in their vocabulary. Children who are painfully shy might be able to talk but can be so frozen with inhibition that precious little can be accomplished in talk therapy. Adding art can be a vital avenue of communication. The art process itself is healing and does not require verbal reflection.
# 3 Vehicle for self-expression
Art therapy enhances self-expression and understanding. Drawings have the capacity to offer varied clues to physical and cognitive maturation, certain aspects of personality, and personal perceptions of the world.
# 4 Freedom
In a session, children are allowed to ‘break the rules’ (for example, they can tear apart an old book and use it to create a piece of new art). They are not expected to create a “good” piece of art, nor are they encouraged to. There is no such thing as bad art! There are no grades or expectations. If they don’t like a certain material, we will find a material they enjoy.
# 5 Encouragement and socialization
They are free to play while in a comfortable, safe environment where they are being witnessed and most of the time are excited to share their work with the therapist.
# 6 Insight of child’s development
Children’s art can inform a trained Art Therapist about their development in the following four areas: cognitive development, social development, emotional development, and physical development.
# 7 Family Therapy
Including all family members in an art session is therapeutic, both in terms of overall family relations and in strengthening certain components of the family.
Schedule a free phone consultation with one of our art therapists to see if it could be a good fit for your child and/or yourself. Individuals, couples, and families of all ages and diverse backgrounds can all benefit from Art Therapy.
Alessandra Macca is a Registered Mental Health Intern at Cypress Wellness Center. In her therapeutic work, she uses the art process as a unique vessel of expression. Approaching each session with kindness, curiosity, compassion, and playfulness; recognizing each client and their individual experiences. She specializes in trauma and PTSD, anxiety, and seeing children and adolescents.
Thaina Cordero is Cypress Wellness Center's care coordinator and marketing specialist. She has experience working with diverse individuals in multiple settings, predominantly children in teaching environments.