The benefits of artistic expression in this uncertain time to express what we cannot name

In this time of uncertainty, returning to a creative activity gives us, parents and children, the opportunity to take the time to welcome our emotions, to explore them and to enrich each other. It is useful and recommended to find a few avenues to explore in order to support your child’s voice.

In the context of COVID, children need to express what they are feeling. Exposed to the media and to the conversations of adults, they must be given the opportunity to reconnect with their own critical capacities and to put prejudices, classifications and speculations aside.

The trace

Arno Stern, creator of the Clos Lieu and founder of “le Jeu de Peindre,” insists that drawing, in Italian as in German, means “to show,” “to designate.” A sketch is better than a beautiful speech! Drawing is a means of communication for the child – it has meaning and it leaves a mark. This trace is used to contain emotions without having to verbalize them. It is a way of representing “outside of yourself” what we experience with the environment. This allows us to de-dramatize and defuse, without trivializing.

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The transformative power of writing (narrative practice)

Helping our child to tell his story can certainly contribute to his well-being, in times of crisis like the one we are currently experiencing. Supporting him is offering him the opportunity to transform his emotions and for him to become aware of himself: Where am I? How did I get there? Where am I going? It allows him to situate himself in relation to his relationship to others and to the current context.

As a parent, it is by no means the quality of the drawing that is sought, but the quality of the time spent together recounting what we observe, what we have heard during the day.

It offers us a potential space for:

– To make time for a break

– Accept difficult feelings if there are any

– Find a place of safety, security, serenity, joy to express

– Claiming our voice to tell

– Transform feelings

– Enrich and deepen our understanding of our community

So, how do you facilitate artistic expression?

–  Remain concrete, authentic, and rich in details

–  Listen

–  Do not try to justify or over-analyze when writing, drawing, etc.

–  Recognize and balance negativity with positivity

–  Use metaphors to represent concepts instead of trying to define everything

– Do not worry about grammar

– Do not exceed 1 hour per day

– Enjoy the process!

Written by:
Saveria Cristofari 
SACAC Counselling