Arts in health : promoting the health and wellbeing of young care leavers

McGregor, Sheena and Maccaulay, Clare (2009) Arts in health : promoting the health and wellbeing of young care leavers. Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care, 8 (2). ISSN 1478-1840

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Research demonstrates that young people who have been in care have a greater likelihood of becoming parents themselves at a young age, and that their children are more likely to be taken into care (Chambers et al., 2002). In addition to this, becoming parents themselves is likely to re-awaken the abuses and deprivations of their own childhood. This group of vulnerable young people may be helped by art therapy. The British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT) defines art therapy as a form of psychotherapy that uses art media primary mode of communication (BAAT, 2009). Young people who take part in art therapy need not have any skill in art. The creative arts process helps the young person to effect change and growth on a personal level through the use of art materials in a safe and facilitating environment. Art therapists are also aware of how body language and the manner of relating to the therapist and other group members express the state of mind. For example, anxiety can be expressed through finding it difficult to take off a jacket or turn off a mobile phone.

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