Art Psychotherapy

images from left to right: a ‘family’ clay sculpture piece by a 8 year old client diagnosed with ADHD; a collaborative lego piece of a 4 year old playing ‘house’ to enhance tolerance and reduce perfectionism; and a 2 year old playing with a toy car and paints on paper for sensory integration. 



images from left to right: a 4 year old boy self regulating by drawing patterns and using different colors; and a 15 year old girl finding relaxation with patterns.  


‘Art is a wound turned into light’-George Braque, 20th-century French artist

Art as a psychotherapeutic tool, also known as ‘art therapy’, ‘art psychotherapy’, is an internationally recognised and evidence based form of psychological treatment that works well with anyone from all ages and cultural backgrounds. It combines theories of Psychology/Psychotherapy with the creative process of art making to allow for the expression of feelings that are often difficult to express in words. Creating art, the process, and the finished product can be very cathartic and healing.
an image of a 12 year old child’s journey to the Netherlands as a refugee from Sri Lanka


an image by a 16 year old female diagnosed with PTSD when asked how she feels when triggered
The aim of Art Psychotherapy is to bring about awareness, stabilisation, change, and acceptance. There is a concrete working process and end result, in which the child gains insight into his or her issue during every session. In particular, through exploration of various appropriate art materials-ranging from drawing, origami, lego, 3D sculptures to using technology, the client learns to identify, explore and make sense of what is going on internally in order to accept feelings and move forward in a healthier and more confident manner. 

  a computer image made by a 12 year old client of his ‘anger’

child drawing his anger as a metaphor

a drawing of a 9 year old client’s ‘anger’


Metaphors and psycho-education are emphasised in the process, and not so much the end product. No prior art skills are needed-just a curiosity to play and explore!
Here are some skills a child can anticipate to achieve during sessions:
  • Develop problem solving skills
  • Identify negative and positive emotions
  • Work on mutual sharing and cooperation
  • Accept another’s point of view
  • Integrate language with creative expression
  • Facilitate play and spontaneity 
  • Develop a healthy self-image based on feelings of competency and adequacy
  • Increase attention span and frustration levels

All images are copyrighted