Art therapy has been increasingly used in mental health settings, particularly for children and families who experience trauma‐induced symptoms. However, there is limited literature on family art therapy in child and adolescent inpatient settings. We describe the use of family art therapy in an inpatient child and adolescent mental health services unit, including images to demonstrate effectiveness. Patient and family member artworks were photographed and used to describe three case studies. Artworks made in art therapy can reveal hidden dysfunction in the family. Recent trauma research supports capacity to access this material safely through non‐verbal visual communication. Family art therapy is a useful intervention to support the identification of an illness in the parent, to improve the attunement between the parent and the child, and for the parent to detach from their child’s symptoms by agreeing to get treatment for themselves. If the patient cannot separate from the illness in the parent their symptoms may remain.
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy – Wiley
Published: Jun 1, 2021
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