As a Play Therapist, I love using art with my clients!
Art engages more of the brain in the healing process.
But what about home? Is it important to have our materials and home? They can get messy look a little bit cluttered, be expensive sometimes, and take some time to delve into.
Is it worth it?
The answer is yes! Art helps children in so many ways.Art projects can definitely help with confidence. Especially, if children are struggling in other areas. When children make something that they feel good about, that makes him feel proud of themselves, they perceive themselves as competent and capable of performing work that is really good. This self-perception often generalizes into other areas of their life. On surface level, one might think what’s sure they can paint a tree on a canvas, but that doesn’t mean that they can rock at math. And, to some extent that is correct. But, if gives them the confidence to try things that are very difficult and helps them to feel capable, they may have the courage to do math problems, they previously would’ve just shut down on…or whatever it is that the struggles with. Art projects can also help children with emotional self-regulation. Artwork helps a right and the left hemisphere of the brain to synchronize which engages a calming effect. Many times, in session I will have my clients use the right in their left-hand at the same time which can enhance this effect. We do activities such as double mirror doodle, or art in the sand tray by moving both hands, design figures with the clay with both hands, and other things that just engage both hands, etc. I also love mandalas! mandalas or circle designs can either be symmetrical or any random design. I use these in individual, group and family sessions. There’s so many varieties think that you can do with Art.Art projects can also help with connection on many different levels. Engaging in creativity can help us connect with our inner self as well, as express what’s going on to others that can be so connecting. It can be so very healing.
A picture is definitely worth I thousand words… and then some. I love using art therapy with blended families and adoptive families as it can truly that can strengthen the family system. Art surpasses the limitation of words for sure!Sometimes, families will have an art cabinet or an art shelf where they random art supplies. For my families that I work with that do this, many of the kids comment how doing art work is one of their favorite things to do as a family. Sometimes in our family sessions where we’ll do a family coat of armor and have them identify their family strengths, or I’ll have them created habitat of a an animal in the future including all of the things that he needs to survive. They can be fun, telling of their situation, and also very healing and connecting, especially in high conflict situations.
When parents ask me what they need to buy for their ourselves, I usually put it back on them. What do you think YOU might need for your shelf? Because something that I recommend make totally be a turn off to them! For example I absolutely love, love, love, love, love, LOVE glitter. But, a bottle of glitter around a 5-year-old can send some people into tizzy. Gathering supplies for an art supply is an individual process for sure. You can find many low cost items at the local department store, but many things in nature are very useful as well. I love to bring in palm fronds for my clients to paint on and Angel and I have painted about a gazillion of them over years. We love using stick and leaves too. We live in Florida, so many times people around the neighborhood well trim the palm tree and put the palm fronds on the side of the road. Then, when we are walking our dog Max full pick up a really good friend.
Remember too, art in this context is expressive, so isn’t confined to paint, paper, colored pencils etc. Art can be building a sand castle at the beach, it could be writing a plan together, it could be singing a song and expressing it with a dance, etc.
As a play therapist, I love using the sand tray. If you haven’t heard the episode 44 with Tammy van Hollander yet, it is so worth listening to. Putting little figurines, a.k.a. miniatures in the sand, can be very healing and extremely connecting. Also, I love to use rocks! All kinds of rocks I like to paint on rocks write on rocks use the rocks in the sand tray, incorporate rocks and are in mindfulness altogether… The possibilities are absolutely limitless
In the show notes I have provided several links to art sites that can give you inspiration.
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