Play, Yoga, and Relaxation:
In the midst of play, children are encouraged to be in touch with their bodies and to breathe For children who are anxious or distressed, and for their parents, this is not as easy as it sounds. The multi-sensory world of the therapy office offers many possibilities for learning to relax and focus. Physio balls, cushions, and sensory toys all help children with anxiety and sensory challenges to regulate their emotions. Children’s hands find rhythm through playing the drums, children’s hands feel soothed through movement in the sand, and children’s hands shape clay and learn to control the flow of paint.
Learning simple yoga and relaxation further helps children to slow down, breathe, and gain control. Once they have gained in knowledge and control, children can be wonderful teachers in this work! More than one child has helped instruct their parents in my office, reminding them to “breathe, Mommy and Daddy.” Parents in turn can support children and a calmer environment at home can be the result.
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Jane Ferris Richardson is a board-certified art therapist and a licensed mental health counselor. She is a faculty member in the art therapy program at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. In her private practice she combines art, play, and expressive therapies in a developmental and integrative approach to work with children and families. She has presented her work with children on the autism spectrum nationally and internationally.
Jane Ferris Richardson • Art Therapy
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