Creativity is critical to art therapy because it helps the client-artist to develop a critical insight into their emotions, feelings, and thoughts. The art therapist focuses on creating a non-threatening, therapeutic environment which helps the clients to express and understand their emotions, feelings, and thoughts through the creative process (Kuban, 2015). The artist-client is encouraged to visualize and create visual symbols and images, which provide insight into their thoughts and emotions (McLeod, 2013). Making effort to establish the perpetrator and calling DCF to have the problem looked into the abuse claim will ensure child protection, which demonstrate a higher level of ethical conduct and professionalism.
The different pieces of visual art used in the therapy (e.g., painting, drawing, carving, playing music, dancing, and writing) promote self-discovery, personal fulfillment, and empowerment. By engaging in these activities, the patients gain deeper insight into their emotions, feelings, and thoughts which they may not be able to express through conventional means, thus enhancing their sense of control over how they feel and think (Kuban, 2015). Health professional who work with children are particularly required to act in the best interest of the child (Cukovic-Bagic et al., 2013). Reporting the suspected case to a relevant agency will be in the interest of the minor as it would reduce the risk of re-victimization.
The creative and expressive nature of treatment allows patients to explore, become more aware, and address unresolved emotional conflicts. The final tangible artwork created at the end of the session (e.g., a drawing or painting) is reviewed to discover its meaning. It may reflect how the person was thinking or feeling at the time or the emotional and psychological challenges they were attempting to overcome. These insights help to improve social skills, consequently improving personal well-being and levels of function.
Applying the resilience-focused and strength-based interventions would help the child develop the ability to cope with the negative consequences of the abuse. Seeking legal intervention after the child’s recovery may address the risk of re-victimization (Cukovic-Bagic et al., 2013). However, working with the family at this stage, especially in identifying the potential abuser may hinder investigation because people who are closed to the victim (for example, parents) may be the actual perpetrators.
Cukovic-Bagic, I., Welbury, R. R., Flander, G. B., Hatibovic-Kofman, S., & Nuzzolese, E. (2013). Child protection: legal and ethical obligation regarding the report of child abuse in four different countries. The Journal of Forensic Odonto-Stomatology, 31(1), 15-21.
Kuban, C. (2015). Healing trauma through art. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 24(2), 18.
McLeod, J. (2013). An introduction to counselling. McGraw-hill education (UK).