Five Benefits to Art Therapy for Children

Licensed psychologist and social worker Dr. Miriam Galindo treats children and families at her practice in California. Dr. Miriam Galindo uses art therapy to help young children.

Psychologists use art therapy to provide patients with a way to explore their emotions and distresses in a less structured manner. The use of art therapy, particularly with children, can provide a range of benefits, including:

1. Improved communication. Children generally possess a more limited vocabulary than adults, which can make it difficult for them to put their feelings and concerns into words. This may be especially true for children still learning the primary language of the country they live in. Art therapy provides an alternate means of communicating through paintings, drawings, and visual expression.

2. Nonthreatening venue. Many children find question-and-answer-format sessions intimidating and may express reluctance or hostility about discussing certain topics. The creation of artwork allows children to approach issues in a nonthreatening way and gives them a better sense of control. Therapists can then speak with children about their drawings to help them interpret and explore feelings and uncover solutions.

3. Versatility. The number of issues art therapy can aid children with is nearly limitless. Its use can be applied to dozens of situations, including the death of a family member or friend, learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and trauma involving physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.

4. Relieve stress. Art helps to relieve stress by focusing the mind on the task at hand and providing a free-form way of expressing emotions.

5. Improved self-confidence. Creating art allows children the opportunity to accomplish something or learn a new skill, such as a new art medium or technique. Encouraging creativity and artistic expression can help children gain confidence by acknowledging the art they produced or the new they skill acquired during the session.

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