Art Therapy in Residential Treatment

Clearing Out:

Last week started out in a blur: moving furniture, gathering supplies, sorting supplies, moving more furniture, cleaning etc. I had 24 hours to get the Art Therapy Studio ready before I was scheduled for my first client and my first group of the week. Whew. It was a lot of work, a lot of dust, and a lot of trash….

But it was worth it! Check out my new space.

The finished set up.

The finished set up.

I bet you are thinking that it looks very stark, but, I did that on purpose. The children who reside in the treatment facility have a wide variety of psychiatric disorders and behavioral issues, many are over stimulated and easily distracted. One of my goals in developing this space was to offer a safe, serene, calm place for expression. The children live, go to school, and have group therapy together. When one is acting out, they all feel it, and they can become very reactive. This Art Therapy Studio is meant to be a place to escape the sense of chaos they may feel, provide containment and structure while offering a place for them to become expressive in a way that is comfortable for them. Most of the Art Materials are behind closed doors, this is for the above mentioned reason (decreasing distractions) as well as for safety.

Florence Cane stated “The room should be still and materials ready. There should be plenty of space and light; walls should be white and undecorated – this makes a fertile world for the imagination to play in” (The Artist in Each of Us, 1951, p. 30)

It is not so difficult to create as it is to maintain the conditions from which one may create – C. Brancusi


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