Art threapy helps children explore, share feelings

Local event to highlight practice and encourage creativity

Author: Kumasi Aaron, Reporter, weekend anchor, kaaron@wjxt.com
Published On: Feb 23 2014 09:50:13 AM EST   Updated On: Feb 23 2014 11:48:48 AM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

It seems all children love to create beautiful works of art that end up proudly displayed on the fridge! But, did you know that creating art can be therapy?

Leeanna Mantica, an outpatient art therapist at Daniel Kids explains exactly how that works and how it can help your kids.

Mantica says Art therapy is a mental health profession in which clients, with the help of their art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem.

A master’s degree is required for entry level practice in art therapy, according to Mantica. Art therapists are as qualified as other mental health therapists. Art therapists utilize talk therapy as other therapists do.

"Art therapy is used in a variety of settings including hospice, hospitals, and wellness centers," Mantica says. People who have experienced trauma benefit from art therapy and that includes those who have survived trauma resulting from combat, abuse, and natural disaster."

Mantica also believes it helps children in a variety of ways.

"It increases communication, independence, self-esteem and focus," Mantica says. "Helps them open up about things they may not feel comfortable talking about."

If parents are interested in art therapy Mantica says the website arttherapy.org is a great resource. You can click on “Find a Therapist” for a full list in your area .And Mantica is working on a community art event in our area.

"We are working with the talented artists at Roux Art to create a community art piece next weekend at the Home and Patio Show," Mantica says. "Everyone is invited to come out and be a part of the making of the piece! We’ll be at booth numbers 1107 and 1108. Once it’s finished it will be installed on Daniel Kids' campus"

The community art event will be held at the Jacksonville Home and Patio Show at the Prime Osborn Convention Center from Thursday to Sunday. You can find more information on it at  jacksonvillespringhomeshow.com.

For more information about art therapy check out danielkids.org and arttherapy.org.