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Abuse Recovery Program
Art Therapy – Expressive Arts Therapy – Play Therapy

Art Therapy and Expressive Arts Therapy invite the encounter with learning and new opportunities, through the use of the arts and creativity, in a non-judgemental and supportive environment. The Abuse Recovery counsellors at the Golden Family Center use Art Therapy and Expressive Arts Therapy to support children, youth and women to express themselves in a safe and healthy way.

Art Therapy and Expressive Arts Therapy are established mental health professions that use the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of people at all ages. These creative therapies bring together and integrate the fields of human development, visual arts, and the creative process with counselling.

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Art Therapy and Expressive Arts Therapy are grounded in the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight. Children use creativity, play, and art as forms of communication. For them, Art Therapy and Expressive Arts Therapy are natural ways to grow, heal, learn, and express themselves.

As we grow into adulthood, many of us begin to believe, “I cannot draw, I cannot sing, and I cannot dance.” We learn to limit, judge, and criticize ourselves very early in life. When we convince ourselves that we cannot do something, we begin to close the door on opportunities for new experiences and learning. The beauty of art is that it is accessible to everyone.

Creativity belongs to the artist in each of us. To create means to relate. The root meaning of the word art is “to fit together” and we all do this every day. Not all of us are painters but we are all artists. Each time we fit things together we are creating – whether it is to make a loaf of bread, a child, a day.” Corita Kent


Play Therapy

Play is the natural language of children. Play Therapy has developed as a method of working with children who are experiencing emotional, social, or behavioural difficulties. Children are often unable to find the words to communicate about their distress. Play Therapy invites them to use imagination and symbolic play to express difficult feelings, to experience a sense of control over their world, and to be witnessed and accepted by a caring and nonjudgmental adult.” – Catherine Fallis

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The toys used in play therapy are chosen to give kids the opportunity to explore their real life experiences. They include puppets, small figurines of people and animals, magic wands, dress-up clothes, musical instruments, books, sand, sand tray, water, paints, craft materials, etc.

Play therapy is different from regular play, and in play therapy, the therapist does not play with the child in the way adults may play with children at home. In play therapy, the child takes the lead and controls the play. The therapist will guide the child and will help them makes sense of what they are experiencing.