thank you to everyone who commented on my ‘expressive arts group’ post, and for your feedback.
initially when i started the group, there was a bit of curiosity and negativity around not being able to take the artworks home. the children were especially negative. it’s such a different model from what they are used to.
one boy drew a picture of himself as a bear eating his mother – how can i send that home? the art can be incredibly complex and layered, or a dot on the page, but it all has meaning and sometimes the child doesn’t want to talk about his art or has not yet uncovered the meaning for himself.
i am constantly surprised at how effective art is. i frequently don’t know what is going on in the children’s lives. a child will do an artwork that i am perplexed about, but i will go with the process. later, i will receive some information about what the child is experiencing in his family life, and that artwork that he did 6 months ago makes total sense. we have to let go of all our adult curiosity, the uncertainty of ‘not knowing’, and trust the process.
it took a bit of retraining for the children not to expect praise from me, and for my assistant not to give it. i always redirect the children with “more importantly, how do you feel about your art? what does your mind say? what does your heart say?
the feedback from parents is that the expressive arts group is helping their children, they don’t know how or why, they just know that it is. all of the children are there because they want to be, and they really enjoy it.
For more posts on expressive arts or art therapy, go to http://criticalcompanions.wordpress.com.