If you’re experiencing domestic violence, use this information to make a plan that works for you.
Creative therapy for kids
A community education grant gave children a voice through an Emerge children’s art therapy project.
Traditionally, therapeutic approaches to children experiencing family violence aren’t generally undertaken until they are housed in safe and stable accommodation. However, there is considerable evidence to suggest that early therapeutic intervention after a crisis has occurred can assist a traumatised child better in the longer term. Earlier therapy for children can also help them adjust to a changed living environment.
With this in mind, Emerge successfully arranged funding for a new children’s art therapy program, which ran at in the first half of 2010. The project aimed to assist children and adolescents to understand the impact of family violence and voice their experiences to the greater community. By assisting them to process and gain insight into the impact of family violence, the program aimed to aid children’s recovery and break the cycle of intergenerational violence.
Through use of therapeutic techniques including creative arts, support, understanding of emotions and shared experiences amongst the participants, the children and adolescents would learn that violence does not have to define them.
The art therapy program ran in 2 parts for young people between the ages of 7 -15 years over a period of 12 consecutive weeks, finalising with an exhibition of their work, presented in a professional gallery. Public talks and information sessions were held at the venue, allowing those workers engaged in the process to discuss the art therapy program and its impact on the children’s experience of family violence.
This project enabled the children to express their reality which clearly spoke of the challenges of transition, confusion, frustration and safety. There were many positive experiences for participants including developing trust, exposure to positive influences and role models, understanding the importance of safety, developing a greater connection with their parent, and having the freedom to be a child. A great opportunity that developed confidence and inner strengths.
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