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Expressive Art Therapy
Expressive Art Therapy



Children living in residential group homes are generally of normal intelligence, but many have behavioral and emotional problems that can be from mild to severe intensity. Their verbal skills are often quite inadequate, and their distrust of adults tends to inhibit therapeutic verbal interaction. Conventional verbal therapy has a limited capacity to reach these youngsters. However, expressive art therapy, which relies on non-verbal communication, is also enjoyable.

     מלגות באומנות ילדים בסיכוי
    Artist: G. (10), Renanim Residential
 Group Home    

This type of therapy enables the children to be in touch with their own problems, and to reveal them in a non-threatening manner. Expressive arts therapy offers the children opportunities to find new adjustments to their life situation.

"Yeladim - Fair Chance for Children" has been conducting an expressive arts therapy project for the past seven years. Each year, about 400 children and adolescents in residential group homes have been involved in art, dance and movement, or drama therapy, as well as biblio-therapy. Each group home included in the program has several therapists who specialize in different arts, and who also work with group home staff to improve their understanding of the children’s needs.

Over the years the program has been carefully accompanied with an empirical evaluation. Questionnaires have been filled out and the children's personal functioning has been evaluated at the beginning and the end of each treatment year by direct care workers, social workers, psychologists, the art therapists, and by the children themselves. The results show meaningful psychological and behavioral changes in the children's functioning.

Program Goals

The program has two general goals. First, to provide non-verbal psychological treatment for these seriously disadvantaged children. Second, to enrich the staff of residential group homes with non- verbal skills, so that they can communicate and work better with the children.

The program began with six group homes, and currently operates in forty two group homes with approximately seventy art therapists. Those group homes who have joined the program are funded for two years and then are required to allocate their own resources and to continue employing the therapists. As of now, the Council's resources for supporting this program's coordinator and consultant are ending.

The Council's current goal is twofold. First, to enable those children currently participating in a therapeutic process, to continue their participation in this process. Such continuity is extremely important in order to assure that the social-psychological results that these children have achieved will not disappear, and that the art therapy will not be another source of emotional disappointment and harm. Second, the goal is to continue the program and to reach more groups in order to provide expressive art therapy for all those children in need of such help. Among those particularly in need of the program are children who are aged six and younger.

Target Population and Scope

The program presently is offered to children living in residential group homes throughout Israel, who are from six to fourteen years old. Each group home participating in the program receives outside funding for one or two therapists during its first two years, and then has to find its own resources with which to continue their employment.

The program encompasses forty group homes and hundreds of children. Our goal is to reach as many children who may benefit from non-verbal, expressive arts therapy, as possible. Ultimately, we would like to reach all eighty group homes in the country.

Program

The program has a steering committee that includes professionals from the Ministries of Social Welfare and Education, the program coordinator, a professional consultant, and members of the Council. The steering committee determines which new group homes to include in the program, while the coordinator prepares the newly chosen group homes for incorporating the art therapists. At the same time, the coordinator and the consultant interview therapist-candidates for work with the program.

Each group home included in the program are offered one or two art therapists who work in different art mediums (dance, music, art, biblio-therapy). The therapists offer approximately 10 hours of therapy weekly and participate in all staff meetings. Children chosen for treatment receive one to two hours a week of individual, pair, or group therapy, according to their needs.

Staff workshops are conducted by the therapists for the staff of each group home. The goal is to introduce the expressive arts therapy to them, and provide them with additional, non-verbal, skills, for their work with the children.

Each therapist is required to receive two kinds of supervision. The first, from the head social worker or psychologist of the group home, is paid by the group home. The second, from a senior art therapist, is financed by the worker. All the program’s art therapists meet together five times a year with an expert in child psychology or expressive arts therapy, for continuing education and mutual consultation.





 



Yeladim - Fair Chance For Children - Harugey Malchut 11, Tel Aviv 69714, ISRAEL
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