Hudson Valley Parent

HVP February 2019

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26 Hudson Valley Parent n February 2019 Sugarman says, "You may be storing the information nonverbally and art is extremely effective at getting to the nonverbal part of trauma." Work to find the right fit Justin Wixon, an art therapist with a practice in Rhinebeck, says his current caseload is primarily 12-16-year-old boys. Being a male therapist helps him build trust and open up conversation. "I feel that expressive arts therapy is a great modality for anyone who is open to both verbal and nonverbal forms of self-expression. With that being said, individuals who tend to think and feel in a more abstract and creative way seem to connect with the process more quickly." Wixon recalls a very frustrated and anxious teenager he asked to "draw her week." Within moments of her drawing you could see that she was physically less stressed and able to articulate her feelings through pictures and colors. But Wixon cautions, it's important for the approach to be a good fit for the client. "I always explain to parents that there is a wide range of potential outcomes, but expressive arts therapies can function as a means to express feelings that are difficult to explain with language." Finding the right fit took one Ulster family an entire year. Julie Jansen says, "My whole family was in crisis after my 8-year-old daughter began to have anxiety and panic reactions." This started after the child experienced an unexpected hospitalization while away at camp. Her self-soothing behaviors clearly showed a child in distress. Jansen and her husband tried various therapists and approaches for their child without seeing real progress. Then, they connected with Masks reveal more than they hide! ART THERAPY (Continued from Page 25) a therapist who felt they could find a better fit and encouraged them to try expressive art therapy with Barbera. Almost immediately, the Jansens saw a huge change as their child expressed what was inside and got to the core issue. Much of this work took place in the sand tray where their daughter created hospital scenes as she explored the separation anxiety that had taken control, her mother says. Jansen says, "Lucy truly saved our family." A couple of years in, her daughter continues to attend sessions, although now less frequently. Jansen encourages other families to consider art therapy. Olivia L. Lawrence is an editor for a news organization. She likes to spend her free time outside gardening or otherwise enjoying nature.

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