Bringing Arts Therapy to Defence schools

16 September 2022

Service-related physical injuries or mental health issues can affect the entire family and for children who find it difficult to talk about or understand their feelings Arts Therapy may be helpful.

Arts Therapy is not about being an artist or needing to be creative. It’s a process of using verbal and non-verbal cues to build a greater sense of awareness about our emotions, relationships and responses to situations.  

For children or adolescents, this can be beneficial for those experiencing developmental, cognitive or other barriers. 

Reaching children at Defence schools 

In conjunction with Papernook Arts Therapy and Wellness, the Mates4Mates Arts Therapy Program for Children has been providing meaningful and creative group-based sessions for children aged 6 to 15-years-old of current and ex-serving Defence Force members located within South East Queensland.  

As an evidence-based form of therapy, Arts Therapy provides a wonderful avenue for children to connect in a safe and fun setting, using different artistic techniques to express themselves with the support of a trained professional.  

Offered each term, the program is delivered directly in local schools with a large Defence community to ensure accessibility for children. Particularly if one parent is away working or has health challenges and the other parent is busy with lots on their plate, getting their child to a therapeutic program after school every week is just too difficult. 

About Arts Therapy 

Arts Therapy is a soft approach that introduces and positively reinforces the idea of receiving health services and is a great option for any person who has not found talking therapies to work effectively for them in the past. 

For children of veterans, Arts Therapy is a whole new opportunity to connect and express how they feel on any given day. It enables children of Defence families to engage with other children who have similar experiences and lifestyles and to connect meaningfully with each other through creative therapy. 

“The Arts Therapy Program provided a relaxed and interactive environment that enabled the students to take time to reflect on who they are and feel safe in discussing their feelings. It was wonderful to see how much the students grew in confidence over the course of our 6-week program,” explains Brianna, Defence School Mentor. 

The next round of sessions for the Arts Therapy Program for Children will be held at Bray Park State School in Bray Park, QLD. It will run every Tuesday over six weeks, starting from 25 October – 29 November. Mates and family members with children at Bray Park State School are encouraged to submit an expression of interest for their child/children. Click here for more information. 

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