Art Therapy Webinar Session

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    • #49292


      I can’t get my tech to work to see the slides and microphone, but I listened into the Wednesday 5-17-17 session at 1PM on my phone.

      I heard so many great ideas, but I had a question in regard to using art therapy at home with my 6 year old son with ADHD/ODD. Many of his artwork drawings are (to be frank) violent or of superheros or robots fighting. How do I work with this to create some understanding and move him in a more positive direction?

      Thanks for the amazing session. It was so helpful especially since my son LOVES art and building. He also works with building materials, legos and wood, drawing with pen, etc.

    • #49334
      Kate Harmsworth

      Hi Erin,

      Thanks so much for attending yesterday’s webinar. If you’re interested in replaying the webinar (and downloading the accompanying slides that you had trouble accessing during the live webinar), you can do so here: As for your question, we’re seeing if the expert is available to answer. We’ll be in touch.


    • #49376

      Hi Erin,
      Thanks for your interest and I am glad the webinar was helpful! From what you share about your son, I am thinking your son is pretty typical in terms of other 6 years old boys in that many guys this age find fighting characters very exciting. My worry about this would start if it carried over to your son actually fighting at school or home to the point where it interfered with his ability to work with others in the classroom or make friends.
      That being said, I think if you consider creating options for him to have his characters interact in other ways could be helpful in just expanding his perspective. I see from your profile that you are a writer. Your love of language can be a asset for helping him have his characters express different feelings and have different experiences than just fighting. So besides just fighting, can he draw word bubbles of the characters talking/whispering/singing/yelling to each other? What else might these characters want to communicate with each other besides just fighting each other? Can he make up a cartoon sequence of before/during/after fighting so the focus isn’t just the fight scene? There are tons of cartoon panels of all sizes on the web which can be printed off, or you can always just make one yourself by drawing squares or folding paper into panels. Or, since your son likes to build, can he build a super cool place for the characters to rest or vacation or hang out in so they are doing something besides just fighting? The focus is on expanding his options to “What else?” can the characters do besides just fight rather than potentially getting into a parent-child power struggle over what he draws. And you just do it in a curious, casual, playful manner so the experience is fun.

      Hope that helps! Take care,
      Stacey Nelson

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by staceyn.
      • #50762

        I concur with Stacey Nelson’s words! My son is 8 and has been drawing battles the last couple years too, and I’ve worried about it. My husband, who does not have ADHD/ODD, has told me multiple times: “I used to draw the same stuff when I was his age.” I have three sons whom all have multiple epic battles with their friends in the yard fighting bad guys. I think it’s innate for boys to want to be warriors and protectors, and it comes out in their play and art. There are stories of various heroes around the world throughout history for this very reason, and it’s why superheroes are so popular today. In the past it was characters like Hercules and Cuchulain, today it’s Batman and Ninja Turtles and Superman and Power Rangers. It’s all the same.

        I think that girls like to play pretend heroines as well, but not nearly so often. Which is why as moms, even when we know that this is something boys have done for literally eons, we can still be prone to worrying about it: it’s so different than what most of us played! It’s good to be reminded when it’s truly something to worry about, and that, usually, everything is OK.

        I did not, however, ever think of Ms. Nelson’s suggestion to ask “What next?” or “What else?” I’m ashamed I didn’t think of it! Or if I did, it was seldom! Can I blame it on taking care of said three boys? 😉 Anyway, I LOVE that suggestion, and I’m going to use it! Thank you!

    • #49616


      Years before my now 23 yo son was diagnosed ADHD/Dysgraphic, his sinuses were completely blocked for over two years, to the point where his speech was affected and he was sounding like he was deaf. In my pursuit of an answer as to why this was so, I was given the book, “Is This Your Child?” by Dr. Doris Rapp. It describes at length (400pgs) the interplay between allergies and behavior and then goes on to her diagnoses and treatment through “Provocation-Neutralization” testing, which is imho essentially a form of homeopathy. To abide by the standards of this page I will not further describe her work. But the reason I think it relevant to this discussion is, in the Appendix of this book (which, due to my recent diagnosis explains why this is all I read), she gives case studies. In each one, there is a symptom, many of which are not typical “allergy symptoms” such as hives, or sneezing. And one in particular has kept my attention these past 15 years as I studied and worked in Nutritional Education and Consulting. One of the patient’s symptom was that this child only drew very violent scenes. But after the P/N diagnosis and treatment, the drawings completely changed. Again, I post this not as medical advice as to treatment, but to elevate the discussion to understand that sometimes things that we do that don’t seem “normal” can have a physical/physiological cause that is environmental.

      Some of the patients in the Appendix had foods as their allergen/Provocation, others had airborne irritants – not just pollen, but scents – such as fabric softener, perfumes, etc. So my point is as a parent we need to be detectives. And remember, even when cause is determined, there are often multiple solutions. Keep looking. If I can help more, please let me know.

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