Art and play are often the languages that children use to express themselves authentically – images serve to express more than they are able to communicate verbally, and toys and puppets within play become the tools for self-expression. Utilizing art therapy as an intervention for children matches these languages, and allows for the unique needs of each child to be met.
The child client is the leader of the therapy space, where for each 50 minute session, he or she chooses the avenue for expression, be it art materials, toys, a game, or combination. By working in this client-centred way, I have the opportunity to meet and accept the child exactly where he or she is, and work to develop a feeling of safety, unconditional acceptance, and trust. For a child, who often does not have a great sense of control in her or his world, the therapy space becomes one of empowerment, safety, and playful expression. Establishing this therapeutic relationship and safety, allows for vulnerable emotions and experiences to be expressed, and for healing to happen.
Aligning with parents of child clients is important in helping to extend the therapy work beyond the therapy time and space. Parent meetings are scheduled approximately every 4-5 sessions to discuss goals, progress, strategies for home and school, and are an opportunity for parents to update the therapist on changes happening in the client's world. These meetings are 50 minutes in length.
If you feel that psychotherapy or art therapy may be a positive fit for your child, please contact me for more information and to share about your child. I look forward to connecting with you.
Adults come to therapy with various therapeutic goals to work towards, including expressing and regulating emotions, finding new ways to cope with stress and/or mental health, healing from experiences of trauma or loss, deepening one’s relationship with the self, connecting more with others, developing strategies for self-care, and strengthening self-confidence. Sometimes, we may be unsure of what specifically brings us to therapy, other than a quest for a safe space within which to simply be. The safe, unconditionally accepting therapy space uniquely offers this opportunity.
When working with adults in psychotherapy, the approach to each session is dependent on the unique needs of each client. For some, this may involve more verbal communication with the therapist, whereby we can explore, process, and reflect upon significant elements of a client's past or present experience. For others, therapy involves extending this exploration of the self to visual expression, where we can gain new insight into what words cannot express.
Despite what many may think, creative expression is not only for kids. Engaging in art therapy does not require any prior experience with art materials or creative “skill.” In this creative space, the art does the talking, often speaking louder than words, and brings us to deeper levels of insight and awareness. Each individual client is the expert of the meaning within their creative work. It is the role of the therapist to guide the client in exploring this further, and embracing this meaning to attain a new understanding of the inner self.