It’s child’s play: Art therapy and children

As an art therapist, one of my specialties is child psychotherapy. When asked to explain what child psychotherapy is, people give me weird looks when I say, “it’s child’s play”. They seem to have a similar response when I’m describing art psychotherapy: “It’s just art. It’s just kids messing around with toys. How can that be therapy?” Playing is indeed what it’s all about. But maybe it’s a bit too simplistic to refer to it as “child’s play”. To the child, working out feelings, thoughts and experiences is anything but simple. One of the first child psychotherapists, Melanie Klein, compared play to a “royal road to the unconscious”. Today, we think of art-making and creativity not as distrac

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