Benefits of art therapy with children affected by acute trauma

Published: 16 Jun 2021
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A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies.

There are differing opinions whether art therapy has a positive effect on people‚Äôs lives; limitations inherent in most studies undermine the potential validity of this claim. Demonstrating that art therapy has positive affects has been hindered by the paucity of well- designed empirical studies in this area. Despite the perceived limitation of art therapy, it remains a useful tool to aid in the enhancement of a child's life. Art expression allows children to process the distressing event in a way that is more easily communicated compared to relying solely on their verbal skills. Art therapy is commonly used when treating victims of trauma, which implies that there is something about this type of therapy that allows for further insight into their recovery. This specific type of therapeutic process provides an opportunity for children to view the trauma in a new way. It is often seen as a way for children to reframe and integrate the traumatic experience as a way to help them cope with the traumatic event. Rather than having therapy and art stand in isolation from one another, I highlight the importance that the integration that these two disciplines bring towards helping children. Reviewing the literature on this subject has not only given me a better understanding of the process, but it has also given some insight into the types of concerns that are involved with working with children, such as the nature of the trauma, the different types of trauma that may be treated, and the ethics of working with children.

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Author: Alexa Morrison

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