Most of us have heard the familiar adage: "A picture is worth a thousand words." Creative Arts Therapy is a mental health profession that uses art making in conjunction with verbal psychotherapy to promote psychological wellbeing. Creative Arts Therapy offers a unique opportunity to increase communication and understanding when words alone are not enough.
When incorporating Art Therapy in sessions, I frequently ask the person to make artwork around specific themes that can serve as a starting point for dialogue, and more directly access trauma, therefore beginning the process of healing.
For children who naturally have limited vocabulary, and adolescents who can be resistant to opening up to an adult, art making can be an easily accessible form of communication. For example, Instead of asking a shy teenage girl how she feels and receive a one word reply, I might ask her to show me how she feels by drawing her mood as a weather condition. Then we can look at the art together, and explore what's really coming up for her.
Research indicates that children who make art talk twice as much as children who only talk in session. Art-making can be soothing, revealing, and fun!