Guide for parents seeking art therapy support for their child during a separation or divorce

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Individual Art Therapy

Our hope is to provide a safe space for your child, no matter what age. A neutral space where they can explore their thoughts and feelings about the big change that is happening in their family. We recognize that this is a difficult time for the whole family, not just the child. We really appreciate input from both parents/ caregivers. We honour that each parent’s experience may be different and they will have their own perspectives on the journey. Our role is to provide the child with a way to work through what’s going on for them during the separation.

 

How we can support you?

We are curious about how we can support you to support your child emotionally. We strongly believe that if each member of the family feels empowered, the separation process can be easier to manage. We recognise that raising a child is challenging in everyday situations. It can certainly be even more challenging during times of change and stress. Part of our role can be to support and help parents navigate how to respond to their child’s emotions and any changes in behavior.

Confidentiality

We welcome parents to share information during confidential conversations with the therapist. The only way we use the information is to help us in supporting the child during the process of art therapy. We work individually with child clients and their sessions are confidential as well, meaning that whatever the child says or does during their session remains between the therapist and the child, unless there is a child protection concern. The purpose of this is to ensure that the child can feel emotionally safe to share what is on their mind during art therapy.   

We strongly believe that when a child’s individual therapy is kept separate from any custody and access considerations it allows a safer more optimal space for the child to explore and express themselves and find a sense of confidence to manage their feelings about the separation.

If we are contacted by the Office of the Children’s Lawyer or Child Protection Services and have received parental consent, the only information we will provide are recommendations regarding the emotional wellbeing of the child based on what is observed within the art therapy sessions. In this context we are still bound by confidentiality and will only provide a brief overview without specific details. We are not able to comment on custody and access questions.
 

Consent

We abide by the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario’s ethical guidelines regarding consent. We acknowledge that if one parent is interested in bringing the child for therapy, the other parent may feel unsure of their role in the process. We recognize that children have a relationship with both of their parents and so with that in mind, we really appreciate it if both parents are able to provide input and consent. We understand that this may not always be possible. If you have questions regarding parental consent please contact us so that we can work creatively with you to address your unique situation.

Services

While change can bring opportunities, initially it may be incredibly difficult. For many children this can be a very confusing and uncertain time. Art therapy can provide a space where they can make sense of their experiences and use their strengths to manage or work through big feelings.

Benefits of art therapy for children experiencing separation or divorce:

  • A safe neutral space that belongs specifically to the child, where they get to set the agenda

  • Provides an opportunity for the child to share what’s on their mind with a neutral person

  • Parents are able to feel confident that the child has an outlet and an opportunity to freely express themselves

  • The child is able to experience a sense of control within the space

  • When the child feels safe in the space, the therapist is able to gain a sense of where the child is at and this provides insight on how to support parents in supporting their child through the transition

  • Art therapy can help to build self esteem, which increases a child’s confidence in their abilities to face challenges and manage in difficult situations

  • Art therapy allows a child to express through art, play, sound, movement, and many more forms of self expression. This helps them to explore feelings that may be difficult to put into words

  • Allows them to practice strategies to manage difficult emotions in the art room with the intention that they can use these strategies during times of stress

  • Provides an opportunity to build emotional intelligence

Some of the services we provide include:

  • Individual art therapy for children and teens

  • In-depth parenting support consultations

  • Individual art therapy for parents

  • Support for parents to create & implement parenting strategies

We value parents and their expertise on their child. We hope to use your input as we support your child during the therapy sessions. We would also like to share ideas to support you in your parenting role. During the initial consultation we can determine the type of parenting feedback that may work best for you.

Our role

Our role is to support our clients through individual art therapy sessions and to support parents in their role of emotionally supporting their children. At this time we are unable to provide mediation services, psychological assessments, or reports for court proceedings. Upon request we are able to provide a letter including recommendations for strategies on how to best support the child during the transition. Please note that there is a fee associated with this service. We value opportunities to collaborate with allied professionals such as teachers, child protection workers, or doctors. If parental consent has been given we are happy to provide recommendations to other professionals within the child’s circle of care.