Understanding the maladjusted child through his art

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This research project is conducted with selected pupils of three basic schools, in the Kumasi Metropolis. It seeks to address the possibility of understanding the maladjusted child through his art. This is achieved by means of art therapy which is basically a form of psychotherapy which serves as a tool and a process of resolving conditions of psychological imbalances in human personality through art. As a tool, the art activity in this context, drawings in unique variety give the child a reflective insight into his unconscious world with its relationship with his conscious life. As a process, art therapy serves as an interactive expedition of self-detection undertaken by the child under the guidance and company, of the art therapist (researcher). The drawings are language of symbols whose meaning is determined by the artists own interpretation or the therapists knowledge of the unconscious in artistic symbolism seen through any one or combination of theoretical assumptions. • Art therapy draws, its roots from such fields as Art, Art Education, Psychology and Psychotherapy; hence these fields of discipline serving as the main source of the library research. The therapeutic sessions that were held in all the sampled schools among other things reveal that; • The maladjusted child’s spontaneous and directive art serve as a reliable means of revealing the personality of his conscious and unconscious worlds. • The therapeutic process contributes extensively towards the exposure of thoughts and feelings, which are repressed or hidden. • When the impact of innate factors on a child’s life is realised, the child’s reflective behaviour can be well understood by his teachers. • A child’s potentialities could be identified through art therapy and developed to help him fit in a given environment. • The home, which is the child’s first environment, is a major factor in contributing to’ child maladjustment. • Moreover, the attitude of significant personalities towards a child in a given environment influences the child’s self-perception. It is essential that teachers be trained to practice art therapy through orientation courses to help improve the pupil-teacher relationship in the school environment. An Association of Art Therapists in Ghana should be established to draw practitioners together. Art Therapy is applicable in both the mainstream schools and the special schools. It must therefore be encouraged Parents/guardians and the general public should be educated to provide affection and acceptance to all their children to enhance their integration into the society. It is a major requirement of teachers and social workers to devise suitable means of acquiring information in connection with the entire behaviour of their children outside their given environment. Finally it is proved beyond all reasonable doubts that the maladjusted child can be understood through his art
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Arts degree in Art Education, 2002