March 12, 2009, Updated September 24, 2012

Art therapy helps children of drug-addicts express their feelings, study findsDrawing helps children whose fathers are drug addicts to express their feelings, according to a new study carried out at the University of Haifa in Israel. Sixty children aged nine to 14 took part in the study, at the School of Creative Arts Therapies. They were divided into two groups. The first group was asked to draw their life in the shadow of a drug-addicted father and then describe their experiences to a social worker. The second group described their life, without drawings. An analysis of the narratives provided by the two groups revealed that the descriptions given by children in the first group included more feelings and sensations, were longer, and expressed optimism for the future. The children in the second group, however, were more reluctant to talk. Their narratives were shorter, without feeling, and less coherent. “It is difficult to verbally describe a trauma, yet the body remembers it,” said Prof. Rachel Lev-Wiesel, head of the school, who carried out the study alongside Revital Liraz of the Hosen Center in Beer Sheba. “Emotional-verbal ability is crucial for growth and for social skills, so enabling a child to increase ability of expression and sharing by means of drawing pictures is beneficial in contributing to the efficiency and effectiveness of therapy.”

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

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