Art Therapy can help children, young people, adults and elders with a wide range of difficulties, disabilities or conditions.

Art therapy has been practised in health, social and education services for over forty years.

Art Therapy in Education

School is a challenging environment for all young people, especially for those with emotional or behavioural problems.

Art therapy can provide a practical and effective remedy, often allowing a child to reintegrate successfully in normal activities.

art therapy can help a young person to adapt and change …

Art therapy:

  • is a form of psychotherapy
  • uses visual media as the main channel of communication

A qualified art therapist:

  • uses psychodynamic theory and practice to help a child to explore difficult and confusing emotions
  • can assist with a child's psychological, emotional, educational, social, and physical development

A qualified art therapist:

  • holds a post-graduate qualification
  • is a member of The British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT)
  • may be employed on full or part-time, permanent or temporary contracts
  • is paid on the spine point teaching scale (if he/she has Qualified Teaching status)

Schools use art therapy because:

  • art therapy can help schools to fulfil their statutory responsibilities to ensure special educational needs are met
  • interventions such as art therapy may be essential for pupils with learning difficulties in assisting access to the National Curriculum

Children with problems:

  • Neglect
  • Physical illness
  • Mental illness
  • Sensory impairments
  • Loss of family
  • Bullying
  • Learning difficulties
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Communication
  • Domestic

Children with characteristics:

  • Withdrawn
  • Lacking in confidence
  • Depressed
  • Aggressive
  • Angry
  • Chaotic
  • Anti-social

Children with behaviours:

  • Obsessional
  • Self-destructive
  • Phobic
  • Unpredictable

Referrals may be made by:

  • teacher / head teacher / head of year
  • educational psychologist
  • self-referral

Art therapy starts when:

  • assessment is made by the art therapist, in consultation with other professionals and the child's parents or guardians
  • upon parental consent, the child can begin regular sessions at a set time each week.

Art therapy lasts:

  • from as little as a few weeks to a year or more, depending on the child's needs
  • preparation for the ending of therapy will need to take place over a number of weeks or months

An art therapy room must:

  • be self-contained and private
  • be large enough for group work
  • have suitable work surfaces and flooring
  • have a sink and running water
  • have lockable storage space

Art materials:

  • will include those usually found in the school
  • funding for additional materials may be necessary

The art therapist:

  • does not have a teaching role
  • the content of the sessions is strictly confidential within the school team
  • if the art therapist considers a child to be at risk, he/she will adhere to the school's procedures in their Child Protection Policy.

The art therapist will schedule time for:

  • art therapy sessions
  • dated record keeping of sessions
  • administration work
  • regular supervision

Art therapy requires regular liaison with:

  • teaching staff
  • school support personnel
  • parents
  • outside agencies, as necessary