August 23, 2023

Caring for mental health through art therapy

A wonderful 264 children and 39 adults have been helped by 225 sessions of art therapy over 5 months of cooperation with DTCare. This helps the children in our programs to find emotional stability, a sense of security, stop being afraid, and to plan and dream...

The war has affected everyone. Children and families need support in finding ways to overcome trauma. The need is especially acute for children and adults who have fled their homes because of the war, though all children have been living with increased anxiety for more than a year and a half.

At the end of March 2023, we launched an important art therapy project thanks to the support of our good partner DTCare. Together we have brought group and individual art therapy sessions to children who are separated from their parents in residential care institutions and family-type orphanages, and also children and adults from families who fled their home because of the war or local families in difficult circumstances. This is a valuable contribution to our work to help children overcome trauma and succeed in life.

"Since most of the children at the Care in Action Creative Hub are from displaced families, they talk more often about the war and their traumatic experiences. Art therapy classes are an important, safe space for them to work through their trauma. So for the classes at the Hub we mainly select techniques for releasing strong feelings and emotions. It is important for children to react in a safe way to their aggression, anger, sadness, etc." - Olesia Tsymbala, art therapist

Highlights of the art therapy partnership so far:

  • 225 art therapy sessions - 151 group and 74 individual sessions
  • 303 beneficiaries regularly attended classes - 264 children and 39 adults
  • 10 locationsour Creative Hub, Blahodat children's home, Lviv Centre for Child Care, the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph Centre, the Caritas Child-friendly Space Radekhiv, Lviv City Council children's home Prosvita, Nahuyevychi home for children with disabilities, and three family-type orphanages in Lviv.

Group art therapy can lead to a 45% reduction in negative emotions and feelings of isolation, and help reduce anxiety and stress by 40%. In these sessions, children and teenagers work with pencils, paints, clay, sand, music and other creative tools.

"When leading art therapy sessions with children over 12 years old, I noticed that children became more open in their expressions, the level of tension and anxiety decreased. The children's drawings became filled with meaning, history, and reflections. Children began to focus on the creative process, and to spend more time on depicting details, decorating their work or drawing. Participants do not hesitate to discuss personal topics and sincerely talk about their feelings." Iryna Kharchenko, art therapist

"We regularly attended art therapy with Natalia and Olesya. Everything is very well thought out with a great attitude towards children. This a great space for creativity where children and adults freely express their emotions and feelings. These events are very important for children. We always try to attend art therapy and gradually something is changing in our relationships. Thank you for your work!"

 "I attended Christina's classes with my son Rinat. I liked everything. She is a wonderful person and a professional in her field. She finds an effective approach to every child, she is 100% a specialist. We regularly attend her classes and will continue. My son is delighted!"

The project involves 6 freelance specialists from the Lviv branch of the Art Therapy Association: Olesia Tsymbala, Khrystyna Shpak, Natalia Mraku, Iryna Kharchenko, Natalia Shmatok and Natalia Zhabko, a full-time specialist Veronika Shevchuk and a freelance specialist Yaryna Zanchak.

There are 16 children who benefit from individual sessions. This can help them unravel complex, often unknown thoughts and emotions that inhibit their intellectual performance.
"We attend art therapy classes with Ms Veronika. My son is delighted - a space for creativity, new ideas, learning and play, psychological relief and a charge of positive emotions. Thank you!"
Thanks to DTCare, 22 art therapy sessions were held for children and adults from 16 family-type children's homes and foster families during our four-day summer camps for foster families.
Groups for teenagers, and for adults too, because we know "happy parents means happy children."

Expert art therapy is a great addition to our programs, especially in times of war - art therapy sessions help children cope with negative emotions, stabilise their emotional state, overcome fears and improve self-esteem. The classes provide children with a safe environment where they can express and explore their own selves and restore a sense of inner security that has been shaken by the traumatic experience of war.

We are immensely grateful to all our donors for your generous donations to support the development and well-being of children from vulnerable groups in Ukraine. We are grateful to DTCare for the valuable support of our projects - professional art therapy for children and adults who care for them. Supporting mental health and emotional stability is more important than ever for young Ukrainians.

Sponsor a child

You can sponsor a child in Ukraine or Malawi and change their life for the better with a monthly donation of €30. In this time of crisis more children need the security of regular sponsorship to support their education and meet their basic needs.