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 a 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.