We were delighted to attend the launch of JKP author Vicky Barber’s new book Creating Children’s Art Games for Emotional Support this week at the brilliant new London Art Therapy Centre. Vicky was joined by a number of prominent art therapists, including fellow JKP author Marian Liebmann, as well as several of Vicky’s art therapy students – all of whom had inspiring tales to tell of the transformative impact of her teaching.

Art games from the book were set up for everyone to try out. These included making ‘character cubes’ to represent our best and worst attributes, and to encourage self awareness and confidence, and the ‘Going with Change’ game where one person continually jogs the arm of another whilst they draw a picture. The drawer then has to incorporate the imperfections into a new picture, promoting the message that it is not the end of the world when things don’t go our way.

There were videos and photos projected of the workshops Vicky has held in countless schools, in which she trialled and tested all the inventive games featured in the book. Vicky spoke about how she was motivated to write the book after witnessing first-hand the pride that children take in something they have made, as well as how much more enthusiastic they are about anything presented as a game.
This led her to create a number of simple art games that she found worked powerfully as vehicles for children to open up about their emotions. She knew she was making an impact when a group of schoolboys wanted to keep working on their art projects rather than going out to play football!

The evening ended with a few words from Marian Liebmann who proposed that the world is becoming too serious and we could all benefit from a little more creative play in our lives. She drew attention to what a valuable tool Creating Children’s Art Games will be for time-pressured art therapists and teachers – a sentiment reflected in the number of attendees who were keen to pick up a copy of Vicky’s book.

Thanks to everyone who attended the book launch and made the event a success!

Vicky Barber teaches an art therapy course at City University London, and runs individual art therapy sessions with children and young people who have behavioural problems, in addition to running a successful private practice. For more info about Vicky and her work, visit www.vickyb.demon.co.uk.

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2011.

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