School Art Therapy

school art therapy

When a student is distracted by emotional issues, learning disabilities, speech or language disorders, behavioral disorders or illness, even a well-trained, experienced teacher may be unable to get beyond these barriers to a student’s learning. As one professional on a student services team, the school art therapist is not only trained to recognize these barriers, but to diagnose problems and provide individualized interventions and services to help the student focus on learning.
Art therapy provides a visual and verbal approach to accessing and addressing student needs. As a natural mode of communication for children, it is a means of externalizing the complexities of emotional pain. Children rarely resist the art-making process because it offers ways to express themselves that are less threatening than strictly verbal means.

•    Collaborate with teachers, parents, and school personnel about learning, social and behavior problems
•    Help others understand child development and its relationship to learning and behavior
•    Strengthen working relationships between educators, parents, and the community
•    provide educational programs on: classroom management strategies, parenting skills, working with students who have special needs, teaching and learning strategies using art as informal assessment in the classroom, and child development and its relationship to cognitive and emotional growth
•    evaluate the effectiveness of academic programs, behavior management procedures, and other services provided in the school setting
•    conduct research to generate new knowledge to improve learning and behavior
•    Working closely with parents and teachers, school art therapists use a wide variety of techniques to evaluate:

o    cognitive and emotional development
o    academic strengths and weaknesses
o    school and classroom programs
o    personality development
•    work directly with students and families to help solve conflicts and problems related to learning and adjustment
•    provide counseling and social skills training, behavior management, and other interventions help families deal with difficult crises such as separation or loss

Connie Gretsch

Family Therapy

family therapy

Family therapy helps families develop new family-wide communication and coping skills. Art along with family discussion helps children feel comfortable while the whole family works on improving the overall quality of family life. Family members will discover their roles in the family system, including strengths and weaker areas. When families communicate and balance the different needs of all members, children’s behaviors and symptoms improve. By realistically understanding each family member’s role, and learning to listen deeply to one another’s needs, families establish supportive strategies, set clear rules and discipline, and structure the family for success!

Child and Family Art Therapy Assessment
Art therapy assessment can quickly understand your child’s individual needs and issues within the family system. Regardless of a child’s art background or ability, art assessments determine the child’s social and emotional developmental level, their current range of coping skills, and any underlying issues or concerns that kids typically have difficulty communicating verbally. Parents receive feedback from these assessments with suggestions for next steps in family work.

Individual Child Art Therapy
The individual therapy services are unique, creative and innovative.  Child-friendly elements of creative art therapy, play therapy and verbal therapy with parent support and training are a part of the therapy sessions. There is a parent-child processing portion in every session, in which parents and child improve their communication, develop coping skills solve challenges together. In the individual or group sessions, that are just with children, the focus is on communication and exploring feelings, solve problems, learn and rehearse new coping skills.

Additional services to families:

Connie Gretsch

Addiction and Recovery

art therapy, addiction and recovery

The power of art therapy in the treatment of addiction lies in its capacity to allow people to express emotions without using words. For many people in recovery from chemical addiction, significant blocks prevent the intellectualization and verbalization of painful thoughts or feelings. Art therapy, therefore, offers an outlet for these blocked thoughts and feelings that might otherwise remain buried.

Art therapy recognizes:
– the nonverbal symbols /metaphors of the client’s art work
–  the client’s creative process
– the artwork as a point of reference or framework
– the thoughts and feelings that are being communicated through the artwork

The goal of art therapy is self-discovery:
– to allow the client to discover the underlying feelings and thoughts that are contained in the artwork
– to define what those thoughts and feelings mean to the clients.

The use of art therapy provides a powerful tool for not only self-reflection and judgment, but for social understanding, higher self esteem and a relief of longstanding trauma and anxiety.  Art therapy also introduces a new and creative way of handling triggers that can start the circle of self-destructive behaviorTherapeutic art expression introduces a new way of living that revolves around reflection, instead of, a life of constant and uncontrolled reactions to stress, anger and trauma.
The forms of art therapy expression include imagery, collage making, color therapy, mask making and clay modeling. All of these modalities focus special attention on the issues that frequently accompany addictive behaviors including family of origin, birth order, early recollection, lifestyle and self-image issues.

Connie Gretsch