Effectiveness of Teaching in Expressive Arts Therapy-Emotionally Traumatized Preschool Children

  •  Chen I Ju    


In recent years, the numbers of single parent families, skipped-generation education families and high-risk families are increasing year by year, and therefore, the proportion of preschool children from dysfunctional families are also increasing, wherein, these preschool children must face multiple pressures in the external environment, hence, it needs to pay special attention to life adjustment issues of these traumatized preschool children.Kepner (1995) revealed that traumatic preschool childhood experiences coexisted with existing traumatic environments, while observing it from the viewpoint of development; preschool children’s physical, mental and learning capabilities were completely affected. The primary system in the preschool childhood trauma cases was self-enclosed, supportless and helpless; thereby, they might find themself living in constant states of loneliness and hopelessness (Martin, 2009). If preschool childhood trauma was maintained over a considerable period, it could affect the personal development and self-functions as well as social relationships.The cases of preschool children abuse are getting more and more due to the reasons of parental separations, bereavements, skipped-generation educations, witnessing acts of domestic violence; and in general, these preschool children desire to be loved, therefore, these traumatized preschool children will exhibit various degrees of life adjustment problems in different ways, and some of them may eager to show off their abilities, try to please others, and some are very quiet or cringe in front of others, some are very unstable, and some have aggressive tendencies, or have a lower level of learning motivation, or even, some are inveterate liars, etc. (McConnell, 2002).The expressive arts therapy group introduced in this study aimed at older students of kindergartens affiliated to the elementary schools who belonged to emotionally traumatized preschool children with selective mutism and facing life adjustment problems. Thereby, all participants were asked to take part in 50-minute sessions of using expressive art media once a week for 10 weeks (10 unit activities in total). This study mainly aimed to explore the effectiveness of changes in the emotionally traumatized preschool children with selective mutism from high-risk families to participate in the expressive arts therapy group, particularly, the changes in their behaviors and emotions, and life adjustments.This study used the self-created "Preschool Children’s Emotional Life Adjustment Scale" to assess the performance of emotionally traumatized preschool children with selective mutism and had poor social life adjustments before and after the participation in the expressive arts therapy group; and wherein, class teachers were asked to assist the assessments in order to understand whether these traumatized preschool children had any improvement in life adjustments. In this study, the “Behavioral and Emotional Rating Scale (BERS)” revised by Yang, Zong-Ren (2001) and asked class teachers to assess the improvement of every preschool child’s behavior and emotion, and life adjustment. When these traumatized preschool children were participating in expressive arts therapy group to engage in artistic creations, in which, observing the creative process was a therapeutic tool, and moreover, the creation itself could often disclose new issues, and therefore, enhance preschool children’s responsibility and interests of participation in these group; during the creative process, the preschool children's thinking would become more flexible (Rose, 2007). The changes in the process emphasized in this study meant the changes in behaviors of these traumatized preschool children conducted in the group in the process of engagement in the expressive arts therapy group.

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