Art and Play Therapy with Expressive Modalities

Art, play therapy, and expressive modalities are natural modalities for children and youth to express themselves and their experience of the world in which they live.

Art Therapy

Art Therapy is a holistic counselling approach that engages the mind, body and spirit and is appropriate for all ages.  Art therapy is gentle, non-intrusive and client-centered.  Art therapy facilitates the expression of thoughts, feelings and memories that may or may not be easily expressed by words. Expression is born through the process of creating images and personal symbols using a variety of media such as drawing, painting, clay and collage. Interpretations of the art imagery are based fully on the associations, thoughts and feelings of the maker.

The art therapist’s role is to facilitate and witness the unfolding creative process.  The therapist employs an eclectic perspective that is rooted in developmental, systemic and cognitive-behavioral theoretical orientations.

Art therapy participation does not require previous art experience, merely a desire to connect with the natural healing process of one’s own creativity.

Play Therapy

“Play Therapy is based upon the fact that play is the child’s natural medium of self-expression. It is an opportunity which is given to the child to ‘play out’ his feelings and problems just as, in certain types of adult therapy, an individual ‘talks out’ his difficulties.” -Virginia Axline

During a child’s first appointment, he/she is given a tour of the playroom and orientated to the different choices and methods of expression.  Our playroom hosts many therapeutic options, some of which include:

  • Sandtray
  • Dollhouse
  • Games
  • Children’s therapeutic books
  • Large collection of puppets and dolls.
  • Plus various other toys

The playroom is a special place for children where non-directive play unfolds and provides them with opportunities to create a window for the therapist to witness their lived experience and the conflicts that may be felt or perceived by them. With over 30 years of combined experience, we understand that the safety and quality of the therapeutic relationship with the therapist is a key ingredient to obtain successful therapeutic outcomes.

Emotion, thoughts, memories and choices the child encounters in daily life are revealed through the use of symbols they choose. This therapeutic modality allows children the ability to interact with their personal symbols unconsciously bridging self-acceptance, safety in the world, closure & healing.  Children often work silently and welcome this modality because it is gentle and responsive to their natural mode of being.

A Parent’s Role During Art and Play Therapy Sessions

The parent-child relationship is the most primary relationship and a parent is a child’s first teacher. We honor this important relationship and work to resolve conflicts within by repairing or enhancing the connection between a parent and child.  In situations of stress and conflict, it is not uncommon for communication patterns to have become strained between parents and children when ongoing expectations for conflict or problematic behavior may be anticipated.  We support parents to have the tools to support their children and their family’s needs.  In some cases, we work with the entire family to enhance connectedness & healthy family support.

The first session for children or youth is a parent only session and allows for parents to discuss their child’s unfolding development and current concerns being brought to therapy. Both parents are strongly encouraged to attend because both parents have their own perspective and routines with their child.  Each parent is significant in the therapist’s understanding of your child.

In cases of separation or divorce, it is important that each parent knows the therapist is unbiased in approach and is available to discuss the child’s progress with either parent unless legal documentation dictates otherwise.

Results from Art and Play Therapy Sessions

Numerous parents have reported that after their child has attended art & play therapy sessions at our clinic, they noticed their child demonstrates less anxiety, angry outbursts, greater concentration, positive self-talk, improved sleep habits & relationships with peers and family members.  Results vary and are unique to every situation; however, these results are reflective of emotional regulation and inter-relational skills that can be achieved through art, play, expressive modalities and cognitive-behavioral therapy with children & youth.

Empowering Couples, Families & Individuals For Over 20 Years.

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