The Art and Practice of Providing On-line Art Therapy to Children during the Covid-19 School Shutdown

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Jessica Small


This paper describes the author’s experience of providing on-line art therapy for four months via Zoom during the school closure in Spring 2020, necessitated by the spread of Covid-19. The author describes how the shift in working style led to a change in the dynamic of the art therapy which brought benefits including the need for the client to take greater responsibility for facilitating the sessions and a renewed engagement with the art work. Despite this, anxiety in the therapist grew as the loss of the artwork and the art room led to a fear of a failure of the container and also that important transference and communication was being lost. Despite new dynamics and a shift in the work seen with several children, the quality of the connection was reducing over time as fatigue, complacency and boredom set in. The benefits to the changes could only be fully realised once we had returned to in-person art therapy and overall the author was left with the sense of her practice being compromised and reduced by the need to work in isolation. She did, however, benefit from the opportunity to reflect in depth on isolation and her responsibilities as therapist. 

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