expressive arts therapy and community center
art making for emotional, physical, mental, spiritual & social health
"All learning has an emotional base."- Plato
Stress and schools:
Classrooms can sometimes become stressful environments. One of the major sources of stress can be children’s extreme behaviors, and parent’s fears about them. Examples of extreme behaviors can be aggressive gestures such as hitting and biting, as well as selective mutism causing a child to shut down and be unable to speak. Another source of stress in a classroom can be when children have very different needs, due to variances in age, developmental needs, learning style, ability, and/or cultural background.
Stress is costly:
Although experiencing stress is normal for any teacher or student, those who are experiencing prolonged stress with the feeling of discontentment might suffer from burnout. This in turn causes an increase in levels of staff turn over and a decrease in quality of care. This type of environment negatively affects children’s learning and well-being, and chronic staff dissatisfaction can become very costly for centers and schools to manage. Therapeutic support reduces these costs and enhance the quality of care provided by schools. This support can be funded by grants or centers themselves, in addition to individual health insurances. When a child is exhibiting developmental delays and/or other symptoms, ARTrelief can bill personal health insurances for services supporting a particular child. We accept most major health insurances, including over 10 MassHealth plans.
Evaluate and Support:
Step 1: A School Observation (about an hour) is scheduled where the child in need of support is observed in the classroom, parent(s)/guardian(s) and teacher(s) are provided with a questionnaire to fill out and brief interviews are conducted. More than on observation may be required in order to collect the data necessary to provide a comprehensive assessment of a child or classroom needs.
Step 2: An observation report is provided which includes conclusions drawn from step 1, a DSM5 diagnosis if applicable, and recommendations on how to address the challenges. Recommendations may include a short term service in the classroom or at our center, referral to further testing, a series of coaching sessions with teahers or access to other relevant resources in the community.
Step 3: A team Meeting (about an hour) is scheduled with parent(s)/guardian(s), teacher(s) and other significant provider(s) during which the observation is discussed and a plan of action is decided to support the child, classroom and teachers in this process.
Step 4: A follow up evaluation meeting is schedule to assess if the goals have been met, if adjustments to the plan need to be made, and if further supports are needed.
Managing extreme behaviors
Extreme behaviors are stressful in the moment when they are happening, because they typically present risks for everyone who is involved or witnessing.
Extreme behaviors are stressful in the long run, because they:
they cause emotional build up between children and their teachers, causing a decline in the quality of their working relationship
they can cause other children to develop stress reactions to extreme experiences
they can become a source of conflict among colleagues who differ in ideology or approach
they can become a source of conflict between teachers and parents who differ in values
they have a negative impact on everyone’s self esteem, effectiveness and level of satisfaction: the teacher, the child, the parent, the administration, the community…
Healthy development with Expressive Arts Therapy:
Expressive Arts Therapy is a multi-arts approach to counseling. Using narration as well as non-verbal expression such as drawing, music, movement, drama, or poetry helps to articulate life experiences with authenticity, fullness, specificity, structure, beauty, meaning and playfulness. The playfulness and non-verbal qualities of this type of therapy particularly lend themselves well to children in early childhood, whose developmental stage implies exploration through verbal and non-verbal play. Expressive Arts Therapy is based on our ability to access and stimulate the imagination, by shifting from one art form to another. Children do this naturally, and they do it as a way to learn and develop. An Expressive Arts Therapist is trained to recognize what is the best modality for each person and each moment, to reach therapeutic goals. This concept of "intermodal transfer" (a term give to us by Paolo Knill, 1978) distinguishes Expressive Arts Therapy from neighboring disciplines such as Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Dance Therapy, Psychodrama...
In early childhood, Expressive Arts Therapy can support developmental maturation in many areas such as language, cognition, social-emotional and play skills, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, gross/fine motor skills, sensory processing, self-regulation and healthy work habits.
Creative therapeutic support:
adaptive teaching for complex learners
1. Facilitating parent and teachers meetings
2. Providing parent/family therapy, parent guidance and child advocacy during transition to kindergarten or to the following grade
3. Supervising and coaching teachers weekly or on a case by case basis to help them learn tools and practice efficient ways to manage behaviors and support developmental needs in their classroom
4. Providing observations, written reports, diagnosis, and assessments
5. Providing 1/1 expressive arts therapy and behavioral support to children
6. Providing expressive arts therapy and social skills groups to children
7. Providing education about healthy development and what may be the underlying cause(s) for certain behaviors
8. Referring children to necessary medical and psychological testing
9. Providing resources in the community
10. Connecting preschools to ARTrelief’s volunteers and student interns
Areas of Expertise
In alphabetical Order
Addiction (Alcohol, Cocaine, Marijuana, Tabaco)
Anxiety (Unspecified, Generalized, OCD)
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Behavioral issues (children)
Cultural Assimilation Issues
Couple Issues (communication, infidelity, intimacy)
Foster Children, Adult Foster Children
Health Issues, Cancer Patients
Life Transition Issues
Parenting Supports: Single, Step and Co-Parenting issues
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Sensory Processing Disorder
Third Culture Issues
Trauma (Complex & Single)