Breaking the Silence

Art Therapy With Children From Violent Homes

Cathy Malchiodi

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Children of violence need to be heard. Unable or unwilling to verbalize their suffering, abused children are often immobilized by fear, rage, guilt, and pain. In the second edition of Breaking the Silence: Art Therapy with Children from Violent Homes , Cathy Malchiodi demonstrates the unique power of art therapy as a tool for intervening with children from violent backgrounds. In this new edition, she describes the intervention process from intake to termination, noting the complex issues involved at various levels of evaluation and interpretation. Bringing her years of experience in working at battered women's shelters to bear on the subject, Ms. Malchiodi brings the language of art therapy to life--a language of art that gives children a voice and those who work with them, a way of listening. The emphasis here is on the short-term setting where time is at a premium and circumstances are unpredictable. It is within this setting that mental health practitioners often experience frustration and a sense of helplessness in their work with the youngest victims of abusive families. Since the first edition of this book was published, research has led to some new ideas related to sexual abuse. The author analyzes several issues concerning the treatment of sexually abused children and art expressions of sexually abused children. In addition, Ms. Malchiodi launches a discussion about the ethical issues in the use of children's art as a whole. Featured throughout the book are 95 drawings by abused children. These drawings are at once poignant and hopeful, clearly representing the extraordinary suffering that abused children experience at, at the same time, showing that they can be reached. Because the practice of art therapy methods has been integrated into many disciplines, the final chapter covers development of art therapy programs for children. The author shares information on art supplied, space, and storage ideas. For art therapists, social workers, and other practitioners who work with children in crisis, this book presents a practical methodology for intervention that fosters the compassion and insight necessary to reveal what words cannot.

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