Art therapists work with children and families at each of the main development stages of a child – from infancy, young childhood, latency, adolescence to adulthood.
Each development stage has to be negotiated by the child, and progress does not necessarily take place smoothly. There may be leaps in physical, emotional and cognitive achievement with progress accompanied by loss of the previous stage which may leave a child feeling some anxiety and uncertainty.
An art therapist “works within the framework of understanding the significance of these developmental processes, paying special attention to the internal world of the child, attachment issues and early infantile experience” (Case and Dalley, 2008; 2).
Between the ages of 4 and 5 in the UK a child begins a significant transition from home to school. A child’s peer group will start to have an impact and will continue to have a significant influence right through latency which spans ages 5 until roughly 11.
In art therapy boys and girls can use their creative capacity to draw, paint, play and make things. The images or objects made can help communicate at a symbolic level many of the conflicts and anxieties that are difficult to put into words. It can be a relief for a child to find a safe place where they can play and explore fantasy and imagination without judgement.