Art Th erapy with Children and Adolescents: Inspiring Creativity and Growth
Art therapy is a relatively new discipline in the fi eld of psychotherapy. To put this in perspective, in 2009 the American Art Th erapy Association celebrated its 40th year in existence as a professional organization. It is therefore understandable that many helping professionals are unaware of the discipline or have limited information on the eff ectiveness of art-based treatment. Yet, more recently, clinicians have become aware of art therapy and the potential for healing in the aft ermath of manmade and natural disasters such as September 11th, the 2004 tsunami, and Hurricane Katrina. Following these events artworks of survivors and their stories were made visible. Many art therapists (Appleton, 2001; Chilcote, 2007; Goodman, Chapman, & Gantt, 2008; Kalmanowitz & Lloyd, 2005; Wise, 2005) have engaged in post-traumatic therapy work with children. Th ey have discovered that when children could not speak or verbally express what occurred, art became a voice for the pain and a container for the experience. Art engagement can reach children in ways that other therapies cannot because it is appealing and familiar. Art is embedded in cultural activity, school, and family life and is seen normative and reassuring. Positive associations with art and art
making help children and adolescents accept an art-based healing approach (Goodman et al., 2008).