Traditional approaches to therapy with children are often based on the psychoanalytic model of psychotherapy, with structured, verbal interpretation.
Creative therapy offers a non-pressured environment to explore feelings safely. Children, particularly the very young, may find it hard to articulate their feelings. They may be confused about what they are feeling or not yet have the right language.
Using art and play often feels very natural for children. The therapist is looking for a symbolic communication contained within the child's images or storytelling. By communicating at a metaphoric level traumatic, frightening or shaming experiences can be explored 'at one remove' - for example, by enacting a story with puppets. In this way, the therapist gains valuable insights into the child's inner world.
For the child who risks being 'labelled' as a problem at school or amongst peers, therapeutic help is an opportunity to break a potential cycle of negative behaviour and replace this with more positive alternatives.
A therapeutic intervention during the early years can have a preventative effect - for example, by helping a child to manage anger and reflect on these feelings instead of lashing out.
By developing effective and appropriate styles of relating
with others, children can be helped to channel their energy and feelings
creatively rather than destructively (or
What sort of problems can be addressed by using creative therapy with children?
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