This is a flexible, supportive way of working to help children and young people with the things that trouble them using play, art media and the relationship with the therapist.
Using the arts
Integrative Child Psychotherapy is particularly helpful for children because their first mode of communication is through their behaviour and play. Having the arts and other play materials available in the room therefore means they are able to express themselves immediately.
Therapy can include drawing, painting, clay, puppets, sand tray work, movement and drama to help the child or young person to express feelings safely and explore inner thoughts. However there is no pressure to do artwork. Providing a confidential space for the child or young person to talk can be what helps the most.
Children attend therapy for many different reasons. Here is an idea of the kind of issues parents or professionals may refer a child to therapy for:
- Living in foster care
- Separation and divorce
- Aggressive behaviour
- Withdrawn behaviour
- Emotional worries
- Difficulties in school
- Sleep difficulties
There are of course many other reasons or concerns for which a child may be referred to therapy.
In some situations the most helpful approach for a child will be to provide therapy sessions for both the parent/carer and child together. This can be supportive if there are specific relationship difficulties occurring between the parent/carer and their child. Therapy sessions will be tailored to their particular needs.
Adolescence can be an extremely turbulent time for young people and their parents. It can be enormously helpful for some young people to have a confidential space in which they are able to speak about their worries and concerns. These may include worries about peer relationships, sexual relationships, self-identity, exam stress and eating issues.
Alcohol, drugs, self-harm, eating disorders and unsafe relationships can also play a part in a young person’s life.
Having a confidential space away from home, school or college to explore these issues and identify the emotions leading to the behaviour, can effectively support the young person in understanding their choices and help them to become better equipped in making a change.
Whilst some young people find the arts particularly helpful in exploring their concerns, others may feel more comfortable with just talking.