What is art therapy
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of communication. There are no artistic skills needed in art therapy, the emphasis is placed on emotional expression in a free, always unique manner. The art therapists work in a variety of settings, from mental health hospitals, family centres, prison services or palliative care, and it’s specially helpful for people who find it hard to express their thoughts and feelings verbally.
Children find a natural way of expressing themselves through art making. The art therapist acknowledges both, verbal and non verbal communication seeking a deeper understanding of the child’s needs and conflicts. Together they work towards the development of the child’s full potential, facilitating their growth on an emotional, cognitive, behavioural and social level.
Why art therapy in school?
School is a second home for a great variety of children, all from different backgrounds and with different learning styles. Diversity brings both richness and challenges to the learning experience. Some children are managing life with learning difficulties, depression, autism or ADHD. Others can be going through difficult moments in their lives such as loss, changing school or the separation of their parents. When children lack the resilience or emotional support to deal with difficulty they can display behaviours such as aggression, bullying peers, attention seeking or isolating themselves. All these difficulties affect the child’s capacity to learn while having an impact in the whole class.
By providing with a safe space where to express and explore their struggles the art therapist helps the child’s emotional, cognitive and social development. The art therapist assist every child, individually or within a group, depending on their specific needs and help them enjoy and achieve their full potential, gaining self confidence and making a positive contribution.
The art therapist in school can detect children at risk and provide with early intervention to prevent future mental health problems.
The integration of services is central to the work of the art therapist, connecting parents, teachers and school staff with external agencies to ensure the child is getting full assistance to help their specific needs.
Puppets possess special qualities that make them a powerful media when working with children. They have been extensively used in education and psychotherapy. They can also help a child find new responses to situations and teach coping strategies.
Puppet making brings benefits to the program such as increase of concentration, capacity to relax, confidence, self-esteem and sense of achievement. The Puppet Therapy Programme is specially design for the children to express their feelings, explore their conflicts and socialise.
Your Own Story - Puppet Therapy Club
Your Own Story (The process of making up a story and its characters just by themselves permits them to recreate their very unique world of fantasy. Every tales happens around a challenge or a mission the hero needs to sort out. Children get to reflect about new strategies for their heroes to face their challenges and achieve their goals. This process aims to support the child in enriching their range of responses to deal with the complexities of their everyday lives).
Children write a script based on the resolution of a problem of their choice. Children have a more basic, universal way of communication through their playing and creating. When a child plays its very often recreating their actual life in an attempt to make sense of its complexities and continuous changes.
Children get to create the script characters into puppets. Children easily project themselves into the puppets they make, and use them to express any difficult feelings they need to release.
Children give life to their script by performing it with their puppets. Puppets provide a safe way of working out a problem because they offer the child a safe distance towards the difficult situation, allowing them to watch it from the outside. Children gain control over the problem and get to express the difficult feelings associated to it.