Powerful Therapeutic Art

Today please welcome a Houston Middle School Counselor, Nicole  Batiste.

Five Powerful Therapeutic Art Lessons by: Nicole Batiste

Relatively new to the school counseling world as I've spent the last three years as a School Social Worker-Counselor and before that I was in the classroom, one honest confession I can make is that I was extremely and [prematurely] excited that my new role might allow me to finally ditch lesson planning. Little did I know, I was in for a rude awakening. Not long into my counseling journey, reality hit; I still had to lesson plan, only now instead of creating engaging lessons for my classroom around academia, I was planning engaging lessons around a needs diverse caseload. If you’re anything like me, you to have a lot of different kiddos on your radar you are trying to service. More than likely it seems like you can’t ever get enough engaging resources to help you make your sessions meaningful and engaging. In a lot of trial and error in planning activities, I've learned two truths.

1.   Kinesthetic, hands-on therapy is highly engaging
2.  Art Supplies are your friend!

Whether you’re doing individual sessions or conducting groups, adding some art supplies and having something for your students to create is a goldmine for school counselors. Below are five tried-and-true powerful therapeutic art activities that can help stock up your counseling cabinet or simply give you ideas to create some pretty awesome lessons for your learners. 

   This activity is a great intro to the therapeutic arts. Students will begin by learning and identifying primary colors. Then students will start assigning color to their daily emotions and their desired emotions. This resource allows your students to search themselves emotionally and creatively connect it to color.

         What Color is My Anger? 
   This resource is great for anger management/emotional regulation. Students are required to assess their anger and decide what's inside their anger outbursts. You can use this resource OR have client draw a bomb and reflect what triggers or emotions are inside that bomb.

   This activity is great for self-esteem or girl-drama groups. In this therapeutic art activity, children learn about the importance of inner beauty and empathy. Participants will draw on a blank face what they consider their outer appearance or image and then on the other side draw what's underneath their surface. Encourage kids to make a list about both their outer and inner selves before completing a dual self-portrait.

   This therapeutic art activity is wonderful way to build rapport with your students and serves as an opener for therapy. Your students will use drawings, colors, symbols and words to fill in their "Crystal Ball." Kids have A LOT of fun with this one because they get to talk about all their wants and dreams. It is also a great resource for you to get an understanding of what they ultimately want out of life, school, etc.

    Pieces of Me  
   Another simple way to engage kids in therapy is the "Get to Know Me activity." This is also a great resource for fostering social skills as kiddos talk about themselves and listen and respond to others. In this activity. students use puzzle pieces to answer simple questions about themselves and then represent them artistically.

Quick Tips:

·   Don’t over think it; therapeutic art is just using artistic creation in the therapeutic process.
·   Have discussion questions ready- Once kids pick up a crayon, for some reason they are ready to open up!
·   Join in on the fun. Being a member and facilitator helps everyone feel equal and it adds to the fun!

To purchase these and other Kinesthetic Therapy activities, visit {here}

About the author: School Counselor Nicole Batiste graduated with her Masters degree in Social Work in 2013 and has worked as a school counselor, social worker and elementary educator. She has a passion for teaching social emotional learning through engaging, hands-on, thought-provoking activities.


Thank you, Nicole, for sharing these creative ways to help students learn about themselves as they mature and grow socially and emotionally. 

1 comment

  1. Great ideas! I like that they are simple and not even intimidating for someone like me who (is creative), but not artistic! Thank you for sharing!


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