Emotional Release: Benefits of Art Therapy 

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Title Emotional Release: Benefits of Art Therapy

A 6-year-old girl sits next to her therapist, with signs of anxiety upon her face. Pieces of paper, pencil and some markers are placed in front of the girl. She is hesitant to speak out, but these colors do help release some of the tension in the air. She begins to draw and paint, in a matter of fifteen minutes she finishes with a sequence of fourteen pictures:

“A little girl pig is attacked by a man who wax her with a big stick and hits her in the face with a stone, although she has done nothing wrong to him. So the police come and take the man away in their car, under a blanket, and the little pig is taken to hospital by ambulance, “real bad hurt”. It’s a very long way. In hospital, she is put a stretcher, also under a blanket, and taken for an x-ray. She’s “real worried” about it and her mother doesn’t know she’s been hurt. In the x-ray picture, sticks and big lumps of stone can be seen inside the pig, where the man has wounded her. The little pig is so ill, she looks sick and her face is still damaged, she might die… she is going to get better? She’s a bit better… just a bad eye… now she’s really better, wearing a pretty dress, decorated with a red heart. The End” (Murphy 1).

Estimates predict more than 3.3 million children experience verbal or spousal abuse each year, (Osofsky 3) but not all can tell such complete or symbolic stories; what many choose to do with art materials is make a tremendous mess. Through just this story, many significant themes for the abused child can be reflected: the experience of physical damage, the trepidation of dying, feelings of isolation, the absence of the mother, the sense of injustice, the longing to feel whole an...

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...02). Creativity in art therapy: Prime mover or silent partner. Ph.D. dissertation, The Florida State University, United States -- Florida. Web. 15 Nov. 2010.

Malchiodi, Cathy A. (2006). The art therapy sourcebook. McGraw-Hill Professional. Web. 3 Dec. 2010.

Murphy, By Jenny. (2001). Art therapy with young survivors of sexual abuse: lost for words. Psychology Press.Web.14 Dec. 2010.

Osofsky, J. The Impact of Violence on Children. The Future of Children: Domestic Violence and Children (1999) 9(3):33-49. Web. 12 Dec. 2010.

Specht, Sanne. (30 July). A Picture Is Worth: The stories behind the art therapy pieces on display as compelling as those of the young artists. McClatchy-Tribune Business News. Web.15 Nov. 2010.

Wolff, Rudi. (2007, May). Engaging art. Behavioral Healthcare, 27(5), 34-5. Web. 20 Nov. 2010.

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