Trauma Recovery through Art and Play Therapy

Research indicates that only 10 percent of children are primarily verbal in their thinking while the vast majority of children are either tactile or visual thinkers. This means quite simply that most children learn from doing and from seeing. They do not always communicate best through talking. This is especially true for young children. Children can have difficulties expressing their feelings and may not understand some of the things that have happened to them. It can be even more difficult for children to express themselves in words.

Sample ImageThis is why therapy that uses art, music, or play can be so important in the recovery of children who have been traumatized. Art and play therapy can bridge the gap between traumatic events that children cannot understand and the feelings and responses that those events cause. Art and play can both give the therapist a chance to better understand what children are thinking. The drawings that children produce and the way that children choose to play reveal their inner thoughts, feelings, and conflicts.

Art and play can also offer children outlets for their feelings. These feelings may be scary or forbidden but the formats of these therapies allow children free expression that helps them place the problem outside themselves. It may be far less scary to have play family figures fight than to talk about Mom and Dad fighting. From the way that children play or draw, therapists can lead children to healthier ways of coping with the stresses in their lives and initiate recovery from trauma. As Friedrich Froebel said,

Dr. Michael Clatch, Psy. D
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