Helping you get stronger
When these colouring books started to appear I felt very defensive about their titles, as I worked hard to become an art psychotherapist and felt that these books could threaten the credibility of the profession. Art therapy is a profession and art therapist/psychotherapist a protected job title; art therapists in the UK are registered with Health and Care Professionals Council (a statutory regulatory body). Saying this, however, my initial defensive reaction was towards its name; art therapy books. As time has gone by I started to feel that these books are actually invited people’s curiosity and brought debate into the profession. Just as Night Nurse (the medicine), does not define or threaten the nursing profession.
Children and young people (under the age of 16) attending therapy need to be accompanied by a responsible adult, who remains in the building for the entire duration of their sessions.
This is for various reasons, for example:
Why is your role so important?
Before the therapy starts
Before the therapy Sessions: Things to keep in mind
1. Prepare your child for each session, preferably the day before, how is it going to happen?
3. During the journey, keep a calm and soft tone. Avoid talking about upsetting or conflicting themes. Do not try to break silences; your child may need a quiet time in preparation for his session.
4. Let your child know what you will be doing while he is in session. He might be curious or worried about you during his therapy time. Knowing what you are doing can help him settle and not to be distracted about you outside the therapy room.
6. Resist the temptation to distract or reassure your child away from whatever he is feeling about the session and in meeting me. Usually once a child is in the therapy room he is ok and I will be paying attention as to whether he is able to manage the session.
After the therapy sessions: Things to keep in mind
2. As mentioned before, you may have already agreed with the child what to do after his appointment. This can always be re-negotiated as the therapy progresses. Your child may need extra time or support during the first few sessions, an as the time goes by he will know the process better and is more able to manage and regulate his emotions. Whatever you have decided between you two, make sure you stick to it! These will help your child to know that you can keep him in mind and that you are there to support him in the therapeutic process.
3. On your way back after the session, you can make a positive acknowledgement. When appropriate you can say something like ‘Well done for going today, I know you were a little worried before the session.’ or ‘I am really proud of you seeing Marta, I know that it’s not always easy’.
4. Also, and very importantly, you can say something like ‘Thank you for letting me to take you to see Marta, I am really proud of being able to help you in this.'