Art Therapy & Stop Motion animation workshop with Girls Inc

Art Campers from Girls Inc Halton visited the Milton Art as Therapy office and took part in an introduction to stop-motion led by Jane Kwon (Art Therapist and Animator) & Rapinder Kaur (Art Therapist & Psychotherapist). Learning different ways to tell their story and inspiring others and each other to be Smart Strong and Bold!

Reflections 

Art Therapists would agree that we never really know what to expect when our clients enter the art therapy room, whether we are working with a three year old client or a ninety-three year old. Our responsibility is to ensure we create a safe, welcoming, non-judgemental, barrier free environment, where the client (s) is given the appropriate art tools to engage in the creative process of making something. With the knowledge that the client is the expert and as the therapist, I am not there to fix anything, my role is to support them on their journey as they discover their inner power and strengths. The intention and hope behind the Art Therapy process is that the client (s) feels empowered and capable to manage and navigate the challenges and difficulties they experience. I love what I do and feel grateful for the opportunity to be an Art Therapist, however there are times I am left feeling discouraged by the stories I witness. In todays ever-changing insta-world, girls, teens and women are under increasing pressure to look a certain way, to be a certain way and to achieve unattainable standards of beauty and success. Anxiety, depression, isolation, self-harm, social anxiety, disempowerment.............the list goes on of the struggles young people face. So imagine for a moment that the world was set up like an art therapy room. Where all individuals with all their uniqueness, were given the opportunity to take risks, explore and grow their inner potential. When the senior campers from the Girls Inc Halton camp arrived at the Milton office, with their enthusiasm and creativity, it really was encouraging. An example, that in the right environment young people are incredibly capable. Ordinarily a stop motion animation short will take thousands of photographers and hundreds of hours to animate and edit. The senior campers in less than 2.5 hours, explored their unique strengths, discussed how they could use their strengths and art to make a positive impact on the world, they created their storyboards, went through the fabrication process and were able to animate the characters and backdrops they created. This experience was a reminder that technology, with its many pitfalls can also be a vehicle of expression and hope. Men in suits with wealth and positions of power, are not the only ones with the ability to make the world a better place. Empowered women and girls, with their invisible superhero capes can have a much greater and far reaching impact.

 

Written by Rapinder Kaur Art Therapist at Art as Therapy

 

What’s the Difference between Art Therapy and an Art Class?

art class vs art therapy .jpg

 

If you’re interested in art therapy or thinking about checking it out, you may be wondering what the difference is between art therapy and an art class. In fact, this is a question we are asked all the time, so we wanted to share some thoughts about it here on our blog.

From our perspective, these are the main differences between art therapy and an art class:

1.     The relationship.

a.     Art therapy involves a therapeutic relationship. This is the most important element of any type of therapy and what makes it unique from other kinds of activities. There are specific boundaries and elements to a therapeutic relationship. The therapists at Art as Therapy follow the ethical guidelines established by the Canadian Art Therapy Association and the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. Only those who have received the appropriate graduate training can offer art therapy. Although art therapy usually involves art-making, it is first and foremost a form of therapy, similar to talking to a social worker, psychologist, medical doctor, or psychiatrist who offers psychotherapy.

b.     An art class may involve relationships but it does not involve the intentional therapist – client relationship. A teacher or instructor’s role is different than a therapist’s role, and the student-teacher relationship has very different dynamics than the therapeutic relationship. Art teachers are required to be skilled and competent in the areas that they teach, but they do not receive the same training required to practice as an art therapist.

2.     The space.

a.     Art therapy takes place in a confidential contained space. This is very important whether it’s individual or group art therapy. This means that the space has a door that can close, and has frosted windows or curtains to ensure privacy. Confidentiality is essential to creating a safe space where clients can express whatever is on their mind. Clients are free to share with anyone they like about their art therapy sessions and what happens during those sessions, but it is important that they have the option of anonymity and confidentiality if they so choose.

b.     An art class may take place in a more open space, it doesn’t have to be confidential. Art classes may happen in a classroom, in an art studio, or at a community centre. Parents or friends may watch or participate in the class. The class members may be friends or may change from week to week.   

3.     The main goal.

a.     The main goal of art therapy is self expression. The goal is to express or communicate something, and art-making is often one way of doing so. Since the goal is expression, this impacts how art supplies and artwork itself are viewed. Read more about this below.

b.     The main goal of an art class is to learn something or to experiment with a new technique. The goal is usually to make something specific. Students may be replicating an example or following the instructor step by step. This goal of learning and creating something specific impacts how art supplies and artwork are viewed as well.

4.     How art materials are viewed and used.

a.     In art therapy, art materials are viewed as one possible tool for self expression. The therapist is familiar with the art materials based on a continuum from controlled to less controlled. For example, a pencil is easy to control and requires fine motor skills. Watercolor paints or acrylic inks are much harder to control and tend to require larger movements. They work best with bigger paper. Oil and chalk pastels are somewhere in the middle between controlled and less controlled. When viewing art materials in this way, the art therapist may provide or suggest specific art supplies for their expressive potential depending on the client’s therapeutic goals. In art therapy, there’s no right or wrong way to use materials or to make something. If the directive is to draw a tree, whatever the client does in response is accepted and explored within the therapeutic relationship.

b.     In an art class, art materials are viewed as tools to be used in a specific way to accomplish the task. They are manipulated to achieve certain effects. There are sometimes “right” and “wrong” ways to do things or to use art supplies. There may be rules. Often there is a focus on the principles and elements of design. Students are taught different ways to draw a tree, and there is a specific expected outcome.

5.     How the art product is viewed.

a.     In art therapy, the artwork is viewed as an extension or reflection of some part of the client. It can act as a mirror, reflecting the client’s thoughts or feelings about something. The emphasis is on what the artwork communicates for or about its creator, not necessarily on how it looks or whether it turns out as expected. The therapist and the client focus on the process and experience of making the artwork. The process can be just as important as the finished artwork. The client decides what the artwork means to them.  

b.     In an art class, the focus is usually on the product. The goal is to make a specific piece of artwork. Every part of the class builds towards creating that finished product. Often the goal is to make something visually appealing, beautiful, or interesting. Students may wish to display their creations or frame them. This is not to say that artwork created in art therapy cannot be beautiful, aesthetically pleasing, or pride-worthy. It just means that this is not the goal or the expectation during an art therapy session, while it often is the goal during an art class.

The main point is that art therapy is a form of therapy, and an art class is not. This doesn’t mean that an art class can’t be helpful or even therapeutic. However, a specially trained therapist must be present and there must be some kind of formal agreement to engage in a therapeutic relationship in order for something to be considered therapy. Art therapy and art classes can both be beneficial. Here are some ideas about the potential benefits of taking an art class, versus the potential benefits of attending an art therapy session.

Here are some potential benefits of taking an art class:

1.     You can learn new skills, building a sense of mastery and competency. This can boost self esteem.

2.     You can build and develop technical abilities that can be used for visual self expression.

3.     You may have the opportunity for social interaction, and may be able to build peer relationships with other students in the class.

4.     You may learn about yourself indirectly through the process.

Here are some potential benefits of art therapy:

1.     You will have a safe place to express whatever is on your mind.  

2.     You may experience catharsis through self expression. You will be encouraged to express your feelings, and you may use art materials for this process. Art-making can be an excellent way to unload or release emotions.

3.     You will be part of the therapeutic relationship which is a unique relationship. The therapist will function as a witness to your art making process. The therapist can validate your experiences and emotions, reflect your emotions back to you, and observe the whole process with curiosity and compassion.

4.     The art therapy session provides an opportunity for intentional self reflection and discovery. You may feel empowered as you get to know yourself better and discover how your inner strengths can help you to face challenges and overcome obstacles.

If you would like to know more about anything in this blog post, or if you are interested in trying an art therapy session for yourself, call 1-519-307-9000 or email info@artastherapy.ca today! Follow us on Facebook (Art as Therapy), Twitter (@artastherapy) or Instagram (@art_as_therapy) to learn more about art therapy.

Written by Rubi Garyfalakis, Art Therapist at Art as Therapy  

Art as Therapy’s Tips for Reducing the Power Struggle with your Kids

In our work with families, we often speak to parents who are experiencing defiance from their children and find themselves frustrated in a constant power struggle. How do you deal with these difficult moments? Is there a way to step out of the power struggle and instead stand beside your child and empower them in those moments?

In a previous blog post, we talked about the idea of viewing difficult behaviour from a different perspective. If behavior is seen as communication, or as a way to express a need, then it is possible to address the underlying cause rather than focusing on the difficult behaviour. From here, the underlying need can be met which will eliminate the motivation for the challenging behaviour. You can read the full blog post here.

At Art as Therapy we believe that a shift in understanding and interpreting challenging behaviour is the key starting point for reducing the power struggle between you and your child. It allows you to take a step back from the fight and see the bigger picture. When you take a step back, it provides some space where you can access your creativity and discover some alternative ways of responding.  The needs and circumstances will be unique for each family, but here are some basic tips for reducing the power struggle between you and your child:

1.     Reframe your child’s difficult behaviour in your own mind. Challenge yourself to see it in a different way. What underlying strength does their defiance point to? How will this strength serve them as an adult?

2.     Ask yourself what your child may be communicating through their defiant behaviour. Do they need help with an overwhelming task? Are they feeling listened to and understood? Are they expressing a need for attention? Are they looking for a way to experience some control?

3.     See if there is a way to acknowledge your child’s need, and to meet it in a more positively relational way. Empowerment is key here. Believe that your child is capable of responding differently under the right conditions. Focus on your child’s desire to connect with you, and ultimately to please you. No child likes getting in trouble. It’s just the best way they currently have for getting their needs met.

4.     Provide more freedom within structure. At Art as Therapy we have often found that this is the best way to deal with defiant behavior. The structure of the art room provides a great example. Any child who comes to Art as Therapy knows that the rules are few and simple: The session is 50 minutes long and takes place in the art room. The art therapist works to keep the child safe, the child helps to keep him or herself safe, and they work together to keep the art room safe. There is a check in and a check out at the beginning and the end of the session. And that’s it! These rules are non-negotiable, and provide structure which creates a sense of safety. Beyond this, there is freedom. Children can explore, redirect, and respond however they wish as long as these basic rules are followed. For some children, an open ended approach is overwhelming and they benefit from more structure. In this case, they may be offered a choice between red or yellow paint, rather than a choice of any art material in the room. But offering a simple, structured choice sends the message that children are capable, that their opinion matters, and that they have an impact on their world. It’s about finding the balance between freedom and structure, but empowering them to make their own choices and to be able to experience a sense of mastery and control at a developmentally appropriate level. This is different than giving in to whatever a child wants. The adult doesn’t stop being in control, because the adult is responsible for the underlying structure. This is what allows the child to feel empowered – because they know that the adult is in control and will step in if they make a choice they’re not happy with or if they need help.

5.     Reconnect and re-establish your positive bond at the end of the day. There will be days that do not go well. That’s part of being human. Deborah MacNamara gently reminds us, “While we cannot condone uncivilized behaviour from our kids, we can move to protect the relationship as well as use it to help influence and guide a child in a different direction.” At bedtime, chat about what worked or didn’t work today. If you are unsatisfied with the way you responded, don’t be afraid to apologize to your child. This shows them that they will make mistakes sometimes, and that it’s okay. Relationships can survive moments of disconnection, and can be even stronger through reconnection. If you are upset about the way that they behaved, explain that you are not pleased with their behavior, but that you love them no matter how they behave. Try to start each day fresh.

How do you deal with power struggles with your kids? Do you have tips or tricks to share with us? We would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below, or email us at info@artastherapy.ca . For more information about how art therapy can help to support children and families, call our Orangeville office at 1-519-307-9000. We also serve Milton and Mississauga.

Written by Rubi Garyfalakis, Art Therapist at Art as Therapy

References:

 “Kids are people too…” Embracing Us. December 4, 2016.

MacNamara, Deborah. “Five Things You Might Not Know about Attachment Between Parents and Kids.”

Reist, Michael. “Difficult Child. Interesting Adult.” December 7, 2016.

Unlocking Inner Power through Positive Thinking: An Art Therapy Example

This month at Art as Therapy we are unlocking our powers of positive thinking through the use of positive affirmations. At Art as Therapy we believe that our thoughts have the power to change how we feel, how we behave, and ultimately what we believe about ourselves. Here’s how it works: our thoughts impact how we feel. Our feelings influence how we do the things that we do. When our actions reinforce our thoughts, eventually these thoughts become automatic. Automatic thoughts are like software programming for a computer, and they form the basis of our beliefs about ourselves and the world. This connection between beliefs, thoughts, feelings and actions can be summarized as: Beliefs →Thoughts → Feelings →Actions. Here’s a concrete example from the art therapy room. A client draws a shape and then wants to cut it out using scissors. This is a fine motor skill that some younger clients find challenging. It’s one of many task-oriented challenges that a client may be faced with during an art therapy session. Challenges often evoke automatic thoughts, for example: “This looks hard. I don’t think I can do it.” A negative automatic thought creates feelings of discouragement and frustration (essentially, disempowerment). Once the client feels frustrated, it is difficult to concentrate and to control fine motor actions. These feelings can lead to impulsive actions like making a mistake or scrunching up the paper. Then the client may feel even more discouraged and want to give up. The incomplete or failed task only reinforces the original thought that the task was too hard and the client can’t do it. This self-fulfilling prophecy, if repeated enough times, can lead to a belief about the self that the client is not capable and they can’t do hard things. But what if, when faced with a challenge, the client automatically thinks: “I can do it! I will try my best.” This thought leads to feelings of confidence and competence. With the expectation of trying your best, even mistakes are okay along the way. The client completes the task to the best of his or her abilities, and the thought that they can do it is positively reinforced. Over time, this builds a sense of competency and empowerment, and a belief that they can face challenges and do hard things.    The art therapy process provides opportunities for clients to tune into their thoughts and feelings. If a client experiences a moment of frustration and acts impulsively during the session, this provides a great opportunity to stop and reflect on the thoughts and feelings that were happening in the moments leading up to the behavior. At Art as Therapy we approach these moments with an attitude of acceptance and curiosity, free of judgement, because we see them as an opportunity for self reflection and discovery. This also provides an opportunity to reprogram the thought. Once we become aware of our automatic thoughts and notice how they impact our emotions and behavior, we can decide if this is working for us or if we would like to make a change. Change can occur at any point in the cycle, but we find that changing our thoughts can be very effective. It’s kind of like reprogramming a computer. We replace a negative automatic thought with a positive one. After much repetition, this positive thought becomes the automatic one and it changes the chain of events – it changes how we feel, which impacts how we behave. Our altered behaviour proves the positive thought, which reinforces a positive belief about ourselves. The art therapy space is a safe space where clients can try things out. It becomes an arena where they can test out change on a small scale, and repeat the task starting with a positive thought to see if it alters the results. A different thought may create a different feeling, and a different feeling may lead to a different result. After this has been tested out, the art therapy sessions provide space to practice – essentially to reprogram. This month, we have taken this concept a step further by creating a board of daily positive affirmations. Affirmations are positive statements that you can say or think to yourself as a way to reprogram automatic thoughts. For instance, the positive affirmation in our example would be: “It looks hard but I can try my best. I believe that I can do it.” By saying this phrase, we can plant a positive thought which will lead to a positive feeling. This will help us to face challenges. Come visit our Orangeville office (15 Elizabeth St) to get your positive affirmation today! We truly believe that you have the power to do hard things, and that you can unlock your inner power through positive thinking! Try it out and let us know how it goes! Share your stories via social media, or send us your favourite positive affirmation. Email info@artastherapy.ca or call 1-519-307-9000 today.  Written by Rubi Garyfalakis, Art Therapist at Art as Therapy

This month at Art as Therapy we are unlocking our powers of positive thinking through the use of positive affirmations. At Art as Therapy we believe that our thoughts have the power to change how we feel, how we behave, and ultimately what we believe about ourselves.

Here’s how it works: our thoughts impact how we feel. Our feelings influence how we do the things that we do. When our actions reinforce our thoughts, eventually these thoughts become automatic. Automatic thoughts are like software programming for a computer, and they form the basis of our beliefs about ourselves and the world. This connection between beliefs, thoughts, feelings and actions can be summarized as: Beliefs →Thoughts → Feelings →Actions.

Here’s a concrete example from the art therapy room. A client draws a shape and then wants to cut it out using scissors. This is a fine motor skill that some younger clients find challenging. It’s one of many task-oriented challenges that a client may be faced with during an art therapy session. Challenges often evoke automatic thoughts, for example: “This looks hard. I don’t think I can do it.” A negative automatic thought creates feelings of discouragement and frustration (essentially, disempowerment). Once the client feels frustrated, it is difficult to concentrate and to control fine motor actions. These feelings can lead to impulsive actions like making a mistake or scrunching up the paper. Then the client may feel even more discouraged and want to give up. The incomplete or failed task only reinforces the original thought that the task was too hard and the client can’t do it. This self-fulfilling prophecy, if repeated enough times, can lead to a belief about the self that the client is not capable and they can’t do hard things.

But what if, when faced with a challenge, the client automatically thinks: “I can do it! I will try my best.” This thought leads to feelings of confidence and competence. With the expectation of trying your best, even mistakes are okay along the way. The client completes the task to the best of his or her abilities, and the thought that they can do it is positively reinforced. Over time, this builds a sense of competency and empowerment, and a belief that they can face challenges and do hard things.   

The art therapy process provides opportunities for clients to tune into their thoughts and feelings. If a client experiences a moment of frustration and acts impulsively during the session, this provides a great opportunity to stop and reflect on the thoughts and feelings that were happening in the moments leading up to the behavior. At Art as Therapy we approach these moments with an attitude of acceptance and curiosity, free of judgement, because we see them as an opportunity for self reflection and discovery. This also provides an opportunity to reprogram the thought. Once we become aware of our automatic thoughts and notice how they impact our emotions and behavior, we can decide if this is working for us or if we would like to make a change. Change can occur at any point in the cycle, but we find that changing our thoughts can be very effective. It’s kind of like reprogramming a computer. We replace a negative automatic thought with a positive one. After much repetition, this positive thought becomes the automatic one and it changes the chain of events – it changes how we feel, which impacts how we behave. Our altered behaviour proves the positive thought, which reinforces a positive belief about ourselves.

The art therapy space is a safe space where clients can try things out. It becomes an arena where they can test out change on a small scale, and repeat the task starting with a positive thought to see if it alters the results. A different thought may create a different feeling, and a different feeling may lead to a different result. After this has been tested out, the art therapy sessions provide space to practice – essentially to reprogram.

This month, we have taken this concept a step further by creating a board of daily positive affirmations. Affirmations are positive statements that you can say or think to yourself as a way to reprogram automatic thoughts. For instance, the positive affirmation in our example would be: “It looks hard but I can try my best. I believe that I can do it.” By saying this phrase, we can plant a positive thought which will lead to a positive feeling. This will help us to face challenges.

Come visit our Orangeville office (15 Elizabeth St) to get your positive affirmation today! We truly believe that you have the power to do hard things, and that you can unlock your inner power through positive thinking!

Try it out and let us know how it goes! Share your stories via social media, or send us your favourite positive affirmation. Email info@artastherapy.ca or call 1-519-307-9000 today. 

Written by Rubi Garyfalakis, Art Therapist at Art as Therapy

Reframing Difficult Behaviours: A Fresh Perspective for a New Year

For many people, the changing of the calendar year provides an opportunity for a fresh start. It’s an opportunity to reflect, set goals, and make resolutions. From a parenting perspective, perhaps finding more effective ways of dealing with difficult children is on your list of goals.   

Educational consultant Michael Reist makes the argument that difficult children grow up to be interesting adults. He looks at challenging traits in children and considers how these will serve them as adults. For example, an argumentative child has strong verbal communication skills, is passionate, and is intelligent. A disorganized child is more interested in the big picture, a stubborn child is able to set goals and work towards them, a child who doesn’t listen is able to tune out distractions and focus on a single task, and a defiant child is confident enough to stand up to authority figures. These are traits we often encourage or even try to develop in adolescents and young adults. 

In a blog called Embracing Us, the author points out the discrepancy between the ways that we unconsciously treat children, and the ways that we expect children to act. She highlights a number of scenarios where adults may humiliate, embarrass, dismiss, or even bully children when they display some of the traits mentioned above. We want children to be kind, considerate, patient, obedient… but is this how we treat them? Children are not yet capable of responding appropriately all the time, because their brains are still rapidly developing. We know from neuroscience that children learn through imitation. They copy the adults that they see, and because relationships are key for brain development, they copy their attachment figures (mom, dad, grandma – whoever is most important in their lives). Embracing Us author writes, “The idea that children must earn our respect, and are ours to be trained and moulded, and tolerated until they act appropriately, or reach some capricious age, is harmful. It is putting conditions on your relationship. It only serves to push them away, make them fearful, angry, confused, and eventually repeat the same behaviour with those who are smaller, slighter, vulnerable” (December 4, 2016). 

So the question becomes, is there a way to stay connected in relationship with your children when they are acting out with difficult behaviours? At Art as Therapy, we believe that the answer is a resounding “yes!” We are of the opinion that children are much more capable than we may realize. Children naturally want to please, they are hard-wired for positive connection with others, and they are eager to learn and to succeed. We also believe that when children are acting out with difficult behaviors, there is always a reason or a deeper meaning behind their behaviour. Clinical counsellor, educator and writer Deborah MacNamara explains, “It is too often the case that when our children act in ways that defy understanding or are uncivilized, we are quick to focus directly on their behaviour. What gets missed is the child’s attachment needs and emotional issues that drive the most problematic behaviour” (http://macnamara.ca/portfolio/five-things-that-you-might-not-know-about-attachment-between-parents-and-kids/).

Along these lines, Michael Reist suggests that difficult children are a mystery to be understood. At Art as Therapy we take the same approach to any “problem behaviour”. We are curious about what the child may be saying through their difficult behaviour, what need they may be trying to satisfy, or what clues it gives about how they understand and experience their world.  

In our experience, we have found that these are some common messages or motivations behind defiant or difficult behaviour: 

  • I want more freedom and control in my life. Consider for a moment the daily routine of a kindergarten child. Age 5 is a time of intense exploration and discovery. It’s the age when children begin to go out into the world on their own, and begin to learn how to manage their emotions when their primary caregiver isn’t there. For some children it’s their first opportunity to experience themselves as separate from anyone else. Yet how many opportunities do they have to express this freedom or to have a sense of control? Do they choose their own clothes to wear? What they will have for lunch? Where they will sit? What they will do when they get home from school? It’s an internal struggle for children as they gain more independence but have limited opportunities to explore and exercise this freedom. 
  • I don’t feel listened to or understood. We may unconsciously communicate this to children if we, for example, dismiss a worry or fear by telling them that they have no reason to be scared or nothing to be afraid of. This kind of response does not validate the child’s emotional experience and sends a message that we don’t really understand what they’re communicating, or we’re not taking it seriously.
  • I need more attention. Different ages and stages require more attention from adults. And different children need different amounts of attention. It’s a fact that negative behaviour gets a response from adults. And for a child’s brain, negative attention is better than none. 
  • I feel overwhelmed and need help. This is a huge one! So often in the art room, we have found that children refuse tasks they feel that they will not be able to do. And when we explore it further, it’s not that they don’t want to do it, it’s that they aren’t sure where or how to start. When some support is provided and the task is broken down into smaller steps, they are willing to try and often succeed – the pride and positive emotion that accompanies this success is very rewarding for the child and helps to build a sense of capacity along with self esteem. 

Ultimately, difficult behaviors are a form of communication if we are able to understand them through this child-focused lens. Chances are that this is a different way of looking at difficult behaviors. One of the key concepts in art therapy is reframing. The idea is that through the therapy process, things can be seen and understood in a new way. Here’s how it works: when clients comes to art therapy, they express what’s on their mind through their artwork, and through conversation with the therapist. This process externalizes thoughts and emotions. The therapist and the artwork can then reflect or mirror thoughts and emotions back to the client. The therapist can hold up the artwork, and the client can take a look at it from a different angle. Maybe they even turn it a bit, see how it looks sideways or upside down. This shifting can allow the client to notice things they may not have seen otherwise, make connections, or gain new insight. 

Here’s a simple art task to try out the concept of reframing. Get a large piece of paper and a drawing utensil (marker, crayon or pastel). With your eyes closed, scribble as hard as you can for 10 seconds. Try to fill the page. When ten seconds is up, set down your drawing utensil. Look at your scribble and see if anything catches your eye or reminds you of something. Develop this section into an image using a different colour. Then, turn your paper upside down. Repeat the same process - what do you see? How does the scribble look from this angle? Develop a section into an image. Check out the photo with this post for an example of the finished product! This simple exercise is a reminder that a shift in perspective can open up creative possibilities. 

At Art as Therapy we believe that difficult behaviours provide opportunities to empower children and build connection. This year, we are committing to listening to children, and empowering them through the art therapy process. Will you join us in our resolution of empowering children in 2017?

Share your resolutions, scribbles, and insights with us. Connect with us on Facebook (Art as Therapy), Instagram (@art_as_therapy), or send us an email (info@artastherapy.ca). Stay tuned for our next blog post where we will be using this new perspective on difficult behaviors to share some tips for reducing the power struggle with your child. 

Happy new year from Art as Therapy!

Written by Rubi Garyfalakis, Art Therapist at Art as Therapy

References:

 “Kids are people too…” Embracing Us. December 4, 2016. https://embracingus.com/2016/12/04/kids-are-people-too/

MacNamara, Deborah. “Five Things You Might Not Know about Attachment Between Parents and Kids.” http://macnamara.ca/portfolio/five-things-that-you-might-not-know-about-attachment-between-parents-and-kids/ 

Reist, Michael. “Difficult Child. Interesting Adult.” December 7, 2016. http://www.michaelreist.ca/difficult-child-interesting-adult/  

 

 

Empowering Your Teen to Develop Discernment in a Media-Driven Culture

Empowering Your Teen to Develop Discernment in a Media-Driven Culture

Today more than ever, teens are constantly exposed to media. This includes the images and ads on billboards and in magazines that older generations were met with, but today’s children and teens are also exposed to ads on websites and in apps – these are even specifically targeted for them based on their online activities or interests.  Media is interactive and responsive – Netflix makes personalized recommendations, online shopping sites suggest similar items, and teens can like, comment, send, react, and curate what they see on multiple platforms. They can connect with friends and family, but there is also the possibility of connecting with strangers. The world is more virtually connected and accessible than ever before. While this offers many opportunities, it also raises questions about safety, the nature of relationships, sexuality, maturity, peer pressure, decision making, body image… the list is extensive.

Sharing Stories: Art Therapy and Watching Movies as a Family

Sharing Stories: Art Therapy and Watching Movies as a Family

In a Ted Talk filmed in July 2009, Chimamanda Adichie, a writer and storyteller, warns about the danger of a single story. She observes that we are impressionable and vulnerable in the face of a story, especially as children. If we only know one story about a place or a person, we see things from our single story and there is no possibility for anything else. When we make one story the only story, it can lead to stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue but that they are incomplete. Single stories rob people of dignity and make it very difficult for us to recognize our shared humanity. They emphasize how we are different rather than how we are the same. Adichie emphasizes that many stories matter, that stories can be used to empower and inspire people and can illuminate the ways that we are similar. She suggests that when we recognize that there is never a single story, we can regain a kind of paradise in this world.

Mindfulness through Art-Making: Intentional Time In

Mindfulness through Art-Making: Intentional Time In

November is a busy time of year. School and extra-curriculars are in full swing, and calendars rapidly begin filling up with social events and obligations as the holiday season approaches. During busy times we often talk about taking time to unplug or zone out in order to manage well. Have you ever tried what sounds like the complete opposite – intentionally taking time to zone in?