my artistic voice
children & adolescents
'issues are literally brought to the surface and worked with on the page and through photography, as well as through the transition from gallery space into the physical outdoor spaces of the park... Asha and her team created a space for young people in which the reality of their lives and the struggles they were facing were not glossed over, hidden or rubbed away, while art-making was offered as an alternative, which extended beyond the therapeutic space and into the landscape of the park itself.'
WAY OF SEEING
Most young people find art therapy less threatening than talking therapy and can often express feelings that they otherwise may find difficult to put into words.
Art therapy is a specialist intervention and can support children and young people to express and understand themselves and their troubles better. It allows them to build self-esteem and resilience to the emotional challenges they face and work towards change. Many children and young people have worries and experiences that are hard to put into words. These may include family breakup, bereavement, illness, bullying, racism, abuse or violence. These things can cause deep upset and lead to anger, isolation, loss of faith in the world, thoughts of hopelessness and unsafe or fearful feelings. They can also result in intrusive or self-harming thoughts leading to destructive life choices that may seriously affect their future.
I believe that creativity can have a crucial role to play in making positive change. Art therapy encourages self-awareness, relationship building, and an outlet for complex emotions that may be difficult to manage or express verbally. I believe in encouraging young people to develop their full creative potential through the visual arts. Through the use of arts, I strive to create a unique environment in which young people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds can feel free to imagine, create, achieve, and welcome the arts into their lives. I have won multiple awards for my work and am well known for my unique blend of traditional and modern media when working with young offenders and children and adolescents who experience trauma. I work alongside Oranga Tamariki (National Ministry for vulnerable children), Youth Justice, Child, and Adolescent Mental Health service at Waitemata District Health Board, schools and other community services. I am also co-founder of Creative Collaborative where we work in partnership with youth to make changes they want to see in their world.
ART THERAPY AND CHILDREN
Difficulties may occur because of changes in a child's life. They are often unable to speak about their experiences and art therapy can help when they are going through a difficult time or have worries. Children may also be referred to art therapy if they are having more long term difficulties, possibly at school or at home, like trauma, low self esteem or depression.
Adolescence is one of life’s most testing times. Change is possible during adolescence and creativity and art is a language they often relate to which is why offering art therapy works.
Adolescents may be struggling with school, anxiety, mental health, isolation, relationships, or caught up in a cycle of negative thinking and patterns of behaviour. Art therapy can bring a positive effect to difficult feelings and behaviours. The arts are an especially good way to develop supportive relationships with young people who aren’t engaging well in other areas. With support, they can work towards change with positive educational, therapeutic and creative outcomes.
TECHNOLOGY AND PHOTOGRAPHY
As a practicing artist and photographer, I will often introduce less traditional mediums into art therapy, Phototherapy opens up many possibilities. Photography and digital expressions speak the language of young people and as it is readily available it can also establish sustained exploration. This work also opens up possibilities to address safety and technology such as cyberbullying.
are supported to gain a deeper understanding of the issues through regular feedback
SCHOOLS AND ORGANISATIONS
I work closely with schools who also refer children and adolescents to me. Teachers can see children become increasingly receptive to learning as the therapy begins to resonate.
THE VOICES OF CHILDREN ARE CRUCIAL
Young people are always listened to with confidentiality and without judgment. I encourage young people to take the lead and articulate what they need to live the lives they value .