Teo (9 years old), a new student at my art workshop this year, asked me : “What’s the difference between an art therapy session and a plastic arts class ?” Relevant question from a child of his age !
The response (a little too formal) from the Art Therapist is as follows :
“Art therapy is practiced, on medical indication and under medical authority, by all graduates of Afratapem (official title registered by the State with the RNCP) and associated medical faculties : Tours, Grenoble and Lille -ICL (University Diplomas of Art Therapy). This discipline meets the scientific rules of therapeutic practices (indication, objective, therapeutic protocol, methodology, observations, evaluations) and responds to a code of ethics. Art therapists are perfectly integrated professionals who complement paramedical teams, as evidenced by the growing number of care projects carried out jointly by doctors and Art therapists. “
But Téo does not understand this language and opens his eyes wide ! So the Art Therapist continues :
“- Why did you choose the visual arts as a leisure activity Téo ? What are you looking for ?
– It’s for fun, laughing and having a good time with friends from the same group. I like to learn and discover new things, how to draw an elephant for example, how to mix my colors. I like to touch the brushes and smell the paint too ! I love kneading clay and having my hands full of it ! At the end, when I have finished my drawing, I am proud to show it to mom and my little sister !
– Well done Teo ! You are a true artist ! So imagine a child like you, with a serious illness, bad enough that he can’t go to school anymore, but needs to be treated in hospital. This child must feel a lot of sadness, or anger for several reasons, because he suffers from pain caused by his illness and the treatments, sad because he is no longer with his family at home, sad because he can no longer ride a bicycle with his friends. Art therapy is trying to bring back a smile to this sick child, to accompany him so that he experiences everything that you yourself have felt while painting, so that he is proud of what he is doing artistically. Thus, he will feel he exists, and should regain the urge to heal, even if it remains a struggle. “