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Building Family Relationships with Chill & Spill

March 27, 2017. By

 A serendipitous stroke of the keys and a slew of heartfelt reviews from our community drew Jessica to try Art with Heart’s therapeutic activity books

When Jessica Matala moved from a community agency to a private psychology practice in West Virginia, she sought new materials to use with the children she served. A serendipitous stroke of the keys led her to a slew of heartfelt reviews from our community. Jessica decided to try Art with Heart’s therapeutic activity books

“The services I provide largely focus on anxiety, but my clients also struggle with behavior issues at school, trauma, and abuse,” said Jessica. Not knowing how to communicate the root of those behaviors and emotions can be lonely for a child. “The first book I used was Draw It Out. Pages like Pack Your Bags and Puppy Heart are really indicative of what a child is struggling through.”

“I worked with a teenager named Anthony who was taken out of his home at the age 8 for incorrigibility,” said Jessica. “He was placed in foster homes and finally adopted at age 11.” When Jessica began working with him at age 16, he struggled with issues of isolation and lack of connection to his adopted parents and how he fit into his family.

“The book allowed them to talk as a family about what makes people feel safe, what they want, what they want their lives to be like…”

By using Chill & Spill, Jessica worked with Anthony to process his reactions and recognize whether they were appropriate for a situation and safe for those around him. Seeing progress, Jessica began using the book in partnership with other activities when working with the entire family. “The book allowed them to talk as a family about what makes people feel safe, what they want, what they want their lives to be like,” said Jessica. Chill & Spill offered the family an artful and healing lens to see itself through and let them work together to process his trauma as well as to recover and build relationships. “It helped him to understand not only how to depend on yourself, but how to depend on others. It gave him an idea of where he belonged in the family.”

Chill & Spill helped Anthony build the supports he needed to bridge the emotional gap between himself and his family. With those supports he was able to construct a space of meaningful relationships where he felt loved and safe. He was able to see art just as we understand it at Art with Heart: as a universal medium that helps people feel like they belong, no matter where they have come from, where they are going, or where they are now.