Implementing Art Therapy Classes

Read Complete Research Material


Implementing Art Therapy Classes


The following paper is based on implementing art therapy classes for elementary school students who have been diagnosed with depression. Areview of 31 communications consisting of refereed journal articles, news articles, television interviews, and books. Each communication focused on working with children using art after a depression. Each communication was analyzed in six key areas: design of communication, theoretical basis of art therapy conducted, environment surrounding art therapy practice, the art therapist, the client, and the artwork. The following patterns emerged: only two communications met the criteria for research studies; the communications described art therapy in short-term crisis situations and longer-term therapeutic settings; it takes strong, resourceful, compassionate, and resilient people to work as art therapists in this setting; art interventions ranged from free choice activities to very structured craft activities; no prevalent theory about working with children emerged. It is concluded that semi-structured art interventions work well with this population, but more reliable research and planning is needed on working with children after a depression.


When discussing the use of art as an intervention with children who have experienced depression, one must first define what a depression actually is from the children's perspective. Depression for a child can take on many forms. The meaning of depression for a child can encompass manmade events such as war, uprisings, or terrorism. It can encompass natural events such as hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, and earthquakes. It can also encompass individual and personal events such as death of a parent, loss of a pet, or child victimization. Many times children caught up in larger events will experience a combination of manmade, natural, and individual depression.

For instance, a child who was caught in Hurricane Katrina in the United States experienced the storm itself, loss of her home and personal items, the death of family members, exposure to disease, looting, and violence in the streets of New Orleans, a move to a new area, hunger, and family financial stress due to loss of income. This child's perception of the depression was expressed through visual representation of the storm, disease, corruption in the environment, and people's feelings of loss. Her imagery demonstrated that she was affected by a combination of manmade, natural, and individual depressions. When a child is exposed to depression on these multiple levels, he or she can be traumatized and this psychological trauma may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.(Brunick,1999)

Creating art after a depression offers a way for children to make sense of their experiences, to express grief and loss, and to become active participants in their own process of healing, beginning the process of seeing themselves as “survivors” rather than as “victims.” Art is a natural form of communication for children because it is often easier for them to express themselves visually rather than verbally.(Yin,2003)

Research problem and purpose

As communication media develops, increases range and speed of transmission, and becomes available in more settings, people are exposed to worldwide traumas literally on a minute-by-minute ...
Related Ads