Comments on: Art Therapy Changes Lives of Abused Children Inspiring others to create. Wed, 09 Aug 2017 23:41:33 +0000 hourly 1 By: ZOE Tue, 07 Jul 2015 05:49:33 +0000 I am a Community Artist and work with members of the public of all ages including Indigenous, Refugees, Homeless, at risk and disadvantage Youth, Disabled, and non english speaking.
I am well aware of the way creative activity can empower a person to feel better about themselves.
To create something with your own efforts and to see that it is good, is an encouraging thing for any child that struggles academically or in any area of life, and feels they are a failure.
It boosts self esteem to be able to accomplish something through creative expression..
To find a way of expressing emotions that are trapped inside, helps to free a person from extreme internal stresses.
I have lived experience of using my creative abilities to help me to personally survfive life traumas and develop a sense of self worth.
When I had to deal with several young family members suffering from childhood sexual abuse I thought of offering them colouring pens and paper as a way of dealing with the nightmares and “yukky” feelings that they could not talk about.
The police had been unable to get the children to disclose enough information to convict their abuser, as the children were afraid to talk after being threatened by their abuser.
Understanding that the children were afraid to talk, I suggested to them that doing a drawing about yukky things that had scared them, was not the same as talking.
To the children this comment made sense, and they felt free to do drawings.
I was extremely careful to not contaminate any evidence by making any kind of “leading” requests, and only suggested they did drawings of anything they could not talk about, that had made them feel afraid, or “yukky” or sad.
The series of graphic drawings produced by both children, were most revealing.
The drawings were handed to the Child Psychologist by the children.
The Child Psychologist then held a discussion with the children about the content of their drawings.
Through this excercise the full story of the children’s abuse came to light in great detail.
The relief in the children was noticeable as they let go of the dark secrets they had been threatened to remain silent about.
The elder child who began his first year of Primary school, continued to draw extremely violent pictures for almost 6 months after the initial disclosure.
He drew figures in black, shooting at , or firing arrows through, other people, and lots of red blood coming out of the person who was wounded.
He said the people being shot were “bad” people.
His class teacher (female) complained about the content of the child’s drawings and was extremely lacking in understanding of the child’s toiletting mishaps brought on by the tension of having an authoritarian teacher who disliked him.
It was noticeable that the child’s drawings were restricted to black and red colours and his movements while in the act of drawing were very aggressive (stabbing) as if he was taking his anger out through the medium of drawing.
He was obsessed about guns and kept buying every toy gun he could find in the Opshop and kept them stored under his pillow or bed at night so he felt “safe”.
This was because his abuser had threatened him by holding a handgun to his head and saying he would blow his brains out if he talked.
The boy explained he felt “safe” if he was the one who had a gun, even if it was a toy.
“If I have a bad dream I can use my gun and shoot the bad man”.
One day I gave the child a huge teddy bear that was almost the same size as himself.
I told him he could pretend the bear was the person who had abused him, and he could do to the bear whatever he wanted to do.
The boy immediately joined two belts together and hung the bear from the staircase by its neck and proceeded to punch the bear and hit it with other objects.
He then took the bear and threw it down the staircase and when it hit the floor he jumped all over it.
Every time the boy felt angry during the next few weeks, he bashed the big bear and felt better afterwards.
Eventually he did not bother with the bear anymore and seemed much more relaxed and happy after releasing the pent up anger.
It took the older child two years after his mother relocated the family interstate away from the father, before the boy could spontaneously hug his mother and not shrink from physical contact.
The fact that the children were believed by their mother and given the necessary emotional support along with professional help as soon as possible, gave the children the optimum opportunity to heal.
Being able to speak through their drawings released them from the terror of the abusers threats.
The mother relocated the children from the state primary school because of the attitude of the teacher who was actively speaking and displaying predjudice against the child, even after a visit from the Juvenile Mental Health Psychologist to explain the child’s behaviour and background.
Caloundra Baptist College on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland was a much more supportive environment in which the children thrived due to the caring attitude of the staff.
The older boy immediately ceased the toiletting mishaps, overcame his obsession with guns, began to laugh again, and feel happy about life.
He no longer needed to express himself through drawings depicting violence, (where he was the one in control) or violent acts towards the bear.
His art work was now typical of his age and used a full range of colours.
He felt safe at home and also safe at school.

By: Ana Potter Thu, 10 Jul 2014 12:03:00 +0000 Why don’t you join Melbourne school of art!! Where you can make numerous creative art under the guidance of expert artist. Also you can get best career opportunities from these art schools. As a beginner I prefer you to join art school.

By: Jose Mon, 16 Apr 2012 13:26:16 +0000 Dear admin,

I am currently working on a research paper about the benefits of art therapy on domestically abused kids, both physically and mentally, and I was wondering if you could point me towards some certified art therapist who work in the field. It would be much appreaciated.

By: Meagan Anne Dillon Tue, 23 Aug 2011 06:58:24 +0000 I am the abused hcild orpahned at birth belonging to quizzillionaires AND the rich well I cam out of the rich but belong to the quizzilionaires I believe I was abused from birth to today’s date without any assistance

By: GFanthome Thu, 07 Jul 2011 19:11:01 +0000 Terrific article! I think it’s wonderful that this type of therapy is being added to the therapies available to people who’ve had to suffer through abuse. In the novel I’ve just written, there’s a character who is an Art Therapist. She becomes a good friend of my main character, who is a budding artist – and was abused herself.

By: kady Tue, 09 Nov 2010 13:04:05 +0000 this is what i want to do as a career. If any one has any information please email it to me. at
thank you

By: HooLSIIE BOO Mon, 24 May 2010 07:25:17 +0000 Thankk’youu!

By: Kate Shoykhet Fri, 29 Jan 2010 03:27:56 +0000 Dear Cathy,

As I came across your article it seemed like an incredible connection was made. I’m an illustration student in my junior year at Moore College of Art and Design. For my post bachelors I’m going to pursue a career in art therapy.
My focus is to work with children who suffered childhood abuse. I’ve always found a great affinity toward children who are seen as dysfunctional.
Currently I’m working on a proposal for a Fellowship at Moore in which I’m researching combinations between illustration and art therapy.
I would highly appreciate any possible volunteer work or any contacts that you may suggest.

Thank you for the article!

By: the colorful butterfly Tue, 20 Jan 2009 22:58:22 +0000 while i was surfing this websight it all the sundun dawned on me that i have been struggling with not sure what it hink it might be a cry wall i have been depressed not wanting to talk toanyone just keep to myself then a day or 2 ago before i went to bed i was coloring in my favorite coloring book speed racer…. today i feel better i thionk one of the keys to getting out of my depression mode is art coloring just because i can i am a lot happier now i noticed a difference when i woke up for work.

thanxz for having this websight