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31 May 2023

4 Thoughts on Art as Therapy for Kids

— My Story

The My Story Tribe's Art Journal for kids have been widely recommended by South African Therapists. As a company that develops resources for Tween Emotional Growth, we have discovered beautiful, positive results and plenty of benefits when including art as a tool to facilitate growth through expression.  According to Susan Magsamen, the founder and executive director of the International Arts + Mind Lab at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, creating art has a significant impact on the brain. Research shows  that the process of making art activates the prefrontal cortex, helping build executive functioning skills such as planning and organizing. Other rewards to creative expression is that it activates the vagus nerve, engaging the parasympathetic systems to make you feel good. 

We at The My Story Tribe often tap into the wisdom of local Art Therapist Zaitoon Ebrahim to bring perspective to the ‘art’ of using art as therapy! Here is what she says:

1. Why should a parent consider Art Therapy for their child?

I have often engaged in therapeutic art activities for children and have found that it becomes a meditative experience as well as a means to express their thoughts, feelings and behaviour. This platform also provides them the opportunity to learn things about themselves. Art therapy allows free expression and provides insight into the subconscious and unconscious thoughts of our little ones. This gives us the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of who they are, as well as any problems or challenges that they may be suppressing. It is important to mention here that as parents we should view their art without judgement as it is a safe space for them to be able to express their feelings.  

2. What are the benefits for children if they use art as therapy?

The benefits of art are extensive. It can provide an opportunity to connect and engage their whole self which includes self expression, their physical body through movement in relation to their motor skills, their energetic self which speaks to the inner and outer aura or intuition which offers safety and developing mindfulness, their connection with God and their higher self, and the development of the mind, with regard to expanding their growth mindset.

3. How can kids use art as therapy in their homes?

4. Why do you love Art as Therapy?

Gosh for many reasons! It helps greatly with the expansion of the mind and what's possible. In so many ways, when we are allowed to express ourselves freely without judgement, it allows one to unpack many irrational beliefs that we have acquired over  many years and in our childhood. Of course these become more impactful when done through a guided process in order to use specific techniques to anchor our thoughts. 

Art helps to let go of perfection, and helps to develop our focus and patience. It develops the creative mind which enables us to deal with problems rationally and more effectively.  

(Zaitoon Ebrahim is the founder of Being With Purpose and facilitates Art as Therapy Workshops for both children and adults. www.beingwithpurpose.co.za )