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Developmental Art Therapy in the Classroom
$35.00 + $10 S&H

Developmental Art Therapy This second edition of Developmental Art Therapy in the Classroom is a resource for teachers and art therapists who seek to promote children's social, emotional, and behavioral development through art. Applying developmental principles of social-emotional growth, it recognizes that art is an intensely personal form of expression. The aim of this approach is to make the most constructive use of the skills children have, and apply that knowledge in designing art experiences for social-emotional growth. It offers channels for communication, socialization, creativity, self-expression, self-exploration, and management of the environment. This approach does not focus on using art for clinical or symbolic interpretation nor does it rely on art for catharsis or self-insight. Instead, it builds on skills an individual may have, however limited, and expands competencies in behavior, verbal and nonverbal communication, socialization, and cognition.

Guides for Using Art in DTT

There are five foundation beliefs of Developmental Art Therapy. They serve as guides for a developmentally oriented teacher or art therapist:

Belief 1: FOCUS ON STRENGTHS. Emotional and behavioral disturbances are interwoven with normal functioning and often are difficult to differentiate. Representations of typical and disturbed functioning frequently occur together in a child's artwork. An art therapist or teacher can avoid making errors in interpretation by focusing on developmental strengths and skills rather than disabilities and problem behaviors.

Belief 2: FOLLOW DEVELOPMENTAL GUIDELINES. Normal processes of physical and psychological development follow in a hierarchy of stages and sequences well documented in the literature. To assist a child in mastering normal skills, the art therapist must be well informed about the sequences of developmental milestones all children go through in behavior, socialization, communication, cognition, and perceptual motor areas.

Belief 3: MAKE ART INDIVIDUALLY RELEVANT. In addition to knowledge about typical developmental milestones for all children, an art therapist must be able to assess accurately the individual development of each child. In this way, a child's art program can be precisely planned to target unique patterns of strengths, deficits, feelings, interests, and experiences.

Belief 4: EXPAND EXPLORATION. A child learns and grows by personal experience. Every art experience should afford opportunities to explore freely the potential within an art medium. This is a mandate for art therapists to stimulate exploration and encourage process rather than product.

Belief 5: PROVIDE PLEASURE AND SUCCESS. A child's self-knowledge, confidence, and willingness to risk in new situations will grow from pleasurable experiences. Art activities need to be sequentially structured at or below children's current developmental level to maximize therapeutic opportunities for growth, success, and pleasure.