Art Therapy to Help Children; Treatment Joins Play Therapy at Child Guidance Center

Article excerpt

Byline: BRENDA LEE BARCLAY

The outer office area of the non-profit Child Guidance Center's outpatient clinic on the Westside gives a welcoming appearance of a large playroom. Brightly colored wallpaper surrounds children's toys and books and child-level tables and chairs invite children to stay and play.

The surroundings enhance the center's play therapy treatment method, initiated two years ago to enhance the center's therapeutic interventions for children and their families.

"The world of children is a world of play," said Doug Shine, program director of the clinic.

The clinic recently added art therapy, which has been a perfect fit with the existing play therapy, Shine said, and it plans to add the unique treatment method at its other clinics in Arlington and on the Northside and Southside.

Especially effective in working with children who have experienced trauma, the colors and pictures lead to the ability to express thoughts and words, Shine said. Children's artwork is displayed throughout the facility and is especially visible in an area set aside for a future studio. Because it serves a large number of foster care children, the Westside facility has been chosen as the first of the four Child Guidance clinics to use art therapy.

Kevin Bailey, a master's-level art therapist, said a child's pre- and post-therapy art often reveals progress in self-esteem. It can also help the therapist assess a child's graphic and developmental level.

"Children enjoy art because it . …