Art therapy as a method is often overlooked by many parents in the United Kingdom, for the reason that the majority might not in fact know about its existence. On the surface, the process sounds like a vocational exercise that seeks to improve talents and skills in a specific area, rather than a treatment process that could help a child’s development. Nevertheless, then carried out by a professional therapist with experience in the field, art therapy could be one of the most effective and powerful forms of therapy.
In short, the process of art therapy usually involves using arts and crafts for the purpose of channelling the inner-self of a child and offering them an alternative means of communication. It could be brought into use for a huge variety of developmental issues and barriers and has incredibly wide-reaching applications. From children who are reluctant to communicate for emotional reasons to those diagnosed with speech disorders, art therapy has the potential to be successful where even the experts in speech therapy for schools might be unable to reach the child in an effective manner.
Communicating Without Words
For example, the single most unique and wonderful thing of all about art therapy is the way it offers children of all ages the opportunity to communicate without words. Sometimes even as adults, we find it near impossible to express how we are feeling or what we want to say using only words – for a kid with a limited vocabulary it could prove to be even more difficult. Via various art forms though, a child could comprehensively and accurately get across what they want to express without having to say a single word.
It could be hugely frustrating for a child to feel as if they aren’t understood by the people around them – especially the ones diagnosed with learning difficulties or speech developmental problems. When any child feels they aren’t understood or maybe not understood correctly, their instinctive reaction is to withdraw into their shell and be reluctant to speak at all. In such situations, art therapy could provide multiple avenues to explore by way of the different art forms that can allow children to express the things they can never put into words. And the better understood the child in question feels, the more confident they will be to resume communicating.
A Sense of Success
Language and speech represent skills, which like any other need to be worked hard for and respective achievements celebrated. When any child feels they are failing to grasp basic communication signs, their respective confidence will naturally take a severe knock. By contrast, when children are able to express themselves successfully they are filled with a sense of success that breeds further effort and motivation. This is precisely what art therapy as a process is all about as while they might have lost confidence in their own abilities to communicate through language and words, every artistic achievement would increase their confidence and wish to continue progressing.
A Safe Channel
Art therapy has the very real potential to one of the most powerful forms of therapy for children of all ages who may have problems with fear rage, pain, anger, short tempers, guilt or other negative emotional states. Just like adults, children are prone to bottling up feelings if they don’t have the language and speech skills to express the things they are feeling. Naturally, it is common knowledge that this is far from a healthy way to deal with things, though in the case of children there is often little they are able to do other than throw the usual tantrum. Through art therapy on the other hand, children are offered multiple mediums via which they can express everything that is deep inside them, giving them a safe channel and outlet for any feeling they may otherwise have kept hidden.
Talents and Skills for Life
Last up, it is also worth keeping in mind that the moment any child finds an artistic activity that gives them the opportunity to communicate in a way that is impossible with words alone, it is likely they will build a lasting passion for the specific pursuit. Be it painting, music, dance, pottery or anything else really, there is every chance the therapeutic exercises will become a genuine passion and hobby for the child, building talents and skills for life. Art therapy has the real potential to influence in a positive way a child’s development like no other kind of treatment currently available.