Art Therapy and ADHD [TESTIMONY]
Hi, my name is Fred.
I am 11 years old and I am in my last year at Abbot College. Today, I want to tell you about how through Art Therapy, I learnt how to express my feelings and learned strategies in managing my ADHD, particularly my impulsiveness and hyperactivity. Pushing buttons repetitively just to see what happens, talking all the time and being restless, calling out, confrontations with lots of students and the like were just a few things I got in trouble for.
In my experience with Art Therapy, I did activities that were appropriate for my age. I expressed myself through talking about my pictures that I had drawn. It helped me to come up with ideas that helped me cope better with friendships and classroom situations. Doing art in a structured way with certain rules, helped me to improve my self-esteem and social skills. I also learned about how my medication for ADHD affects my wellbeing. Sometimes, the time of day and the materials used increased my impulsiveness and hyperactivity. In the group, I felt safe and I enjoyed working and sharing my experiences with my peers who were dealing with similar issues.
The Art Therapy session at my school ran for 8 weeks. There were boys and girls like me and about the same age. We set out some rules together so that we would all get a fair go.
We introduced ourselves with a drawing. After the drawing we discussed our drawings, some didn’t want to and that was okay too! In the next session, we watched a video about ADHD. After a little discussion, we were asked to draw about how we feel having ADHD. In the next couple of sessions, we talked about other issues such as: the impact ADHD had at school, friendship, family members and medication. We drew or painted about each topic and then discussed and shared it afterwards in the group.
The Art Therapy sessions helped me to understand how ADHD impact on my social and academic performances. It helped me to improve my listening to others, and I learned to share ideas through looking at artwork and verbalising how I felt.
It was just good to know that I wasn’t the only one!
Robert GrayDirector and Senior Lecturer at CECAT
Registered Art Therapist and Psychologist
MA A. Th., AThR; B. Soc. Sc. (Psych.) (Hons.), MAPS.; BA. Theol. (Hons), MA Theol.
A highly regarded art therapy lecturer from Germany, Robert Gray has become a much sought-after art therapy lecturer and practising art therapist in Australia. His unique approach spanning psychodynamic, humanistic, spiritual and cognitive behavioural frameworks has distinguished him as a thought leader who is frequently invited to present at conferences in Australia and abroad.
Trained overseas and multilingual, German-born Robert shares the benefits of his international affiliations and access to cutting-edge research published in various languages with his students and readers. Robert is a professional member of the Australian and New Zealand Arts Therapy Association (ANZATA) and the Australian Psychological Society (APS).