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Art Psychotherapy In Children Of Divorced Parents

1485 words - 6 pages

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a picture drawn by a child may be worth many times that, since it expresses concepts and feelings the child may not even have words for. A picture created by a child of divorced parents can provide an indication of the child's mood, thoughts, and feelings, and can provide a therapist with valuable insight on how the child is coping with his/her new family dynamic.As difficult as divorce is for adults, it has the potential to be absolutely devastating for children. Divorce impacts children, regardless of age, shattering their underlying security and throwing them into a state of limbo, because from one day to the next they do not know what to expect from life or from their parents.A therapist, who works with children of divorced parents, can enhance his/her work with children by integrating drawings into therapy, known as Art Psychotherapy. "Art Psychotherapy is unique in that it produces a tangible product" (Wadeson 42). Sessions involving children and their drawings are used for diagnostic and evaluative purposes as well as for treatment, enabling a therapist to address the multidimensional aspects of the children's drawings and to understand the embedded messages.Drawings can be one of the best ways to understand children's impressions of themselves and of their family. A therapist may ask children to imagine what the various elements of their drawings are thinking, feeling, and saying to each other. Children may be asked to imagine stories about their drawings. All responses induced by these questions can help bring children closer to an awareness of what they have experienced, providing the therapist with a deeper insight into other aspects such as whether children think the divorce was their fault of if children have a sense of helplessness, that makes them anxious, angry or frightened. "By witnessing what a child draws and describes, a therapist can help the child deal with the events of a divorce and the custody process" (Skaife 76).Like any acquired skill, drawing is a reflection of a child's intellectual development. How a child chooses to express an emotion depends on a number of things, including the child's age, stage of development, and artistic skill. While every child is an individual, recognized subjects, symbols, and scenes are common in certain phases of a child's development. A drawing of a person with vague facial features would be typical of a three-year-old child. However, the same drawing done by a ten-year-old child might be cause for concern. For example, a three year-old child's drawing of armless figures is typical and normal; a similar drawing by a ten-year-old child would warrant further attention.As children approach adolescence, they become increasingly self-conscious about what they draw and are more concerned that what they draw is acceptable to others. When pre-teenagers draw, their work contains substantially fewer revealing details, than seen in six-year-old children's...

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