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.


An Introduction to Different Family Therapy Techniques

Dr. Miriam Galindo is a licensed social worker and clinical psychologist based out of Irvine, California. For more than a decade, Dr. Miriam Galindo has emphasized family law services and family therapy.

One of the overarching ideas behind family therapy is that a family, in many ways, functions as a single emotional unit. The feelings and actions of one family member affect all other members, and those members subsequently go on to further influence one another. With that in mind, there are a few different approaches a professional can take to family therapy.

Structural family therapy, for example, closely examines the family dynamic within a therapeutic setting. In a controlled environment, therapists can better identify family subsystems, such as those that occur between siblings. Established by Salvador Minuchin, role-playing is a common technique utilized during structural family therapy.

Strategic family therapy, on the other hand, prioritizes work outside of a therapeutic session. Paradoxical intervention is a popular technique used by strategic family therapists, like Jay Haley and Cloe Madanes. During an occurrence of paradoxical intervention, a therapist will encourage a family or a certain member to pursue a course of action that seems at odds with the family’s desired therapeutic goals. When successfully used, paradoxical intervention can quickly help family members appreciate the gap between what they desire as a family unit and what their present behaviors resemble.