Art Therapy Technique
By: Audrey Di Maria (2001)
In this exercise the teacher, or art therapist, uses a technique similar to that of Fritz Redl. Redl defines a Life Space Interview. In such an interview, at the time of the problem, the teacher/therapist helps the child see how the problem happened. Many children with LD and/or ADHD really do not understand how one behavior leads to the next unpleasant, or pleasant, interaction with peers or family.
In this exercise the teacher first draws the five squares as outlined above. The teacher then begins in the center box, 1, and asks the child to draw a picture of what just happened.
The child might draw a picture of a fight. The teacher/therapist talks with the child about this part of the picture as they work to get the picture "just right." Once this part of the picture is "correct" from the child's point of view, the teacher asks the child to draw what happened next (2). The teacher helps the child see the steps from 1 to 2. Next the teacher asks the child to draw what happened before the problem began (3). Across the top line of boxes, then, the teacher/therapist has helped the child see and understand the chain of events that happened. Now the teacher/therapist helps the child construct a different outcome. In box 5 the child draws what would have happened had the response to the first action been different. Then in box 6 the final positive outcome is drawn.
The child now has a picture of the problem, the outcome, and a positive solution that could happen next time. The teacher can also help the child write a story about the sequence but this is not necessary. Children with LD and ADHD often learn more efficiently with visual representations.