How Teachers can use Art and Music to Heal Children Suffering from Trauma

Researchers and educators have proof that you can build self-esteem through visual art, in fact, there are many benefits of using art and music education in children’s development and academic achievement. “Building Self-Esteem through Visual Art” is a curricula for Middle-School girls. It was started to help develop self-esteem and resilience through the medium of visual art.

Another example of this is shared in “Art & Thinking Skills” compiled by Sharon McCoubrey, who reviews and confirms the connection between thinking skills and art education.

Andi Stix has written “The Link Between Art and Mathematics.” He argues that a relationship exists between visualization and problem-solving ability. Research also reveals imagery leads to increased understanding of mathematical concepts at both the primary and secondary levels. By accepting art’s place in the realm of Math, teachers can boost student math potential.

Another resource is “The Untapped Power of Music,” by Joyce M. Kestrom, who notes the value of music study and its relationship to academic achievement. She says educators can use music instruction to promote academic achievement and mental discipline.

Arts prepares children for further learning, according to Deann Berry, Principal, who says students who were tested in an inner city showed more significant skills improvement than those in a matched control group.

According to scientific studies; art is healing because it changes a person’s physiology and attitude from stress to deep relaxation and from fear to creativity and inspiration. Art and music places a person in a different brain wave pattern, and they affect every cell in the body instantly to create a healing physiology which changes the immune system and blood flow to all organs. (

According to Dr. Ann Boedecker, who has 25 years of experience in spirituality and arts; expressive art is a powerful adjunct to traditional psychotherapy, especially when coping with trauma. Art and music also create a sense of calm and well-being. 

Music therapy can be used in various ways: Children can sing along, mimic their favorite artist, or sing a familiar song. In some cases, a child will sing, for example; like Britney Spears. If the teacher will applaud as well as commend that particular child; you might be able to get them to share because they will become relaxed; forgetting who they are.

The International Center to Heal Our Children has resources that are very helpful to teachers, health providers, and other caring adults who play a part in helping children heal from trauma. They recommend a healing entitled: “Hands-On Approaches to Helping Children Heal from Traumatic Events.” This organization also has instructions on using Puppets as an art project for healing children from trauma. They say Puppets are very therapeutic. They help children to re-enact the events, remember facts, and answer questions about the event through the voice of the Puppet.

They also recommend using Expressive Techniques because survivors of trauma might not be able to talk about their situations and/or feelings. Some children do not always have the language to express themselves. Expressive techniques can help children approach issues when they cannot talk. Art, movement, writing, music, dance or play will help children explore within themselves and provide access to their thoughts and feelings.

Teachers should be very creative as well as sensitive when dealing with children suffering from trauma. Allow the child to choose those projects that he/she is most interested in. Do not force, for example; a child to use the hands or fingers to play a puppet. Instead, give them crayons and paper or a coloring book. Some children who suffer from a form of abuse have been known to draw a picture of the abuser; others have drawn “ugly” characters which had led teachers and therapists to learn the child has been victimized. Most of all, be patient when dealing with children who have suffered some type of trauma. The above-mentioned resources should be very beneficial.


Childrensnationalorg/departmentsandprograms/ICHOC/resources.asp (Dr. Anne Boedecker);jsessionid=Lpwdkjkkpfp.b8fxtktwkk