When we look at art, it talks to us in a way we cannot explain. There is no sound nor text, but somehow, we understand what the artist conveys. There is an invisible yet incredible communication that happens. That is how powerful art is. That is the reason why we use art therapy as a tool to address different kinds of mental health issues in children such as anxiety and panic attacks, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, etc.
Art Therapy Can Help Children:
Children with special needs have difficulty in communication. Art therapy helps them express their suppressed feelings and emotions. As explained by Douglas Mitchell, LMFT, “Art therapy can help improve various mental and pysical symptoms including, but not limited to, reducing pain, anxiety, and tension. It can be beneficial to those who have mental disorders, severe or light emotional abuse, cancer, post traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), people who are bipolar, and a variety of other serious ailments.”
Children can find their passion and talent by trying different arts like drawing, painting, sculpting, etc. If they can establish their identity through art, they can start to develop self-esteem. According to Elena Lamaak, MA, LMHC “Art Therapy can help with emotional expression via non-verbal communication, because often unexpressed words and emotions are at the heart of symptoms and behaviors. Benefits can include increasing self-esteem, gaining self-awareness, improving communication, managing behavioral issues, solving problems creatively, reducing stress and anxiety, and developing social skills.”
Children feel in control of their art. They are free to choose which color, shape, and size they want, and that for them it’s a simple sign of independence.
During art therapy, there are inevitable mistakes which sometimes teach the best lessons. They can figure out a solution to a problem on their own such as making art more prominent or how to add another figure to a drawing without having to erase anything.
Art therapy is an opportunity for children to socialize and establish relationships with therapists and other students. They can exchange ideas and opinions making other people know them better.
Children learn to connect more profoundly with life. They become more aware of the world we live in, the feelings of other people, and most importantly themselves. Art therapy makes them realize their preference.
Through art therapy, children learn to focus on details and how it is essential to achieving a favorable result. It makes them put all their energy and effort into one goal.
Art therapy diverts the focus of the mind from fear to creativity. It addresses the concealed negativity inside children’s thoughts and turns it into something concrete which gives them the power to change it.
It is vital that children know the effects of an organized mind and organized workplace to creating something extraordinary. They are trained to place their art materials accordingly, and it teaches them that it is essential in more productive time.
“Therapy doesn’t have to be talk-based; there are some modalities, like music therapy and art therapy, that can help you get those in tune with those emotions without having to cough them up verbally.” Hannah Goodman, LMHC said. Art is the product of humanity’s beautiful mind. It doesn’t matter if you have physical or mental limitations. Art is inside all of us waiting to be cultivated as we are all meant to think and do great things, and art therapy enables children to find the fantastic feeling of being able to express and free all the extraordinary things the mind can do.