Two New, Expressive Children’s Art Therapy Programs Launched with Donor Support

Two New, Expressive Children’s Art Therapy Programs Launched with Donor Support

Message from the CE0
Scott Burgess

Research shows that children’s art therapy has been particularly effective in the treatment of children. Various developmental theories claim that children do not fully develop verbal skills until adolescence; therefore a child is likely to be more comfortable expressing emotions and feelings artistically than through words. In addition, art therapy has been proven by a number of studies to be effective in dealing with the aftereffects of trauma because it can tap into unconscious, repressive thoughts and memories and bring them to the surface, so children can heal and reconcile them.

Expressive art is a medium through which children can explore and gain mastery over emotional, social and relational issues. The creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps children resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress and achieve insight while increasing self-esteem, self-awareness, focus, empathy and interpersonal skill development.

Following our strategic priorities to enhance community collaborations and partnerships; grow child and adolescent services; expand development efforts and financial resources as well as utilize innovative clinical programming, we are pleased to announce the start of two new grant-funded Children’s Art Therapy programs this month that will advance these priorities and help children in need.

The Children’s Crisis Unit Art Therapy Program will be launched through a $2,600 grant from the Glitter Foundation, founded this year by our 2014 gala co-chair Amanda Jaron. The grant will fund an art therapy group twice a month conducted by an independent registered art therapist and mental health counselor for children experiencing a psychiatric crisis in our inpatient mental health unit. The goal of the program is to improve the child’s ability to communicate in healthy ways, increase self-expression, provide and reinforce emotional regulation skills and increase the child’s sense of well-being while on the unit.

A second, unique partnership with the Naples Art Association, funded through a $5,500 grant from the Harmon Meek Gallery Fund at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation will allow us to pilot a six month, community-based children’s art therapy program for children enrolled in the Children’s Community Action Team (CAT).

The Creative Expressions: Arts for Health and Wellness program will provide participants the opportunity to visit, view, and discuss artwork created by professional artists within a gallery space, and be able to create their own artwork in the art studio. The children will learn how artists’ express thoughts, feelings, and emotions through the use of line, shape, color, and pictorial metaphors, and practice these learned techniques for themselves. They will then process and share their artwork, thoughts, feelings and emotions with their DLC treatment team.

The overall program objectives are to help the children develop new coping skills, learn socially appropriate methods to express and contain thoughts and emotions, experience healthy leisure and recreational skills, gain self-reflection, and enhance communication skills.

We are excited about the new treatment experiences and opportunities these grants will provide the children in treatment at DLC and celebrate our partners for their investment in our mission and vision for children’s mental health services in our community.

Jul 02, 2014 | News

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