In her work with children, Mrs. DeHart-Young utilizes a combination of verbal therapy, creative arts and play therapy approaches to help children understand the world in their own terms. All children inherently develop the skills to make art and to play naturally. These abilities allow them to express the knowledge they are daily acquiring of themselves and the world around them in a way that typically far surpasses their capacity for just speaking in words. When a child’s world is in a state of stress such as the turmoil caused by a death, illness, divorce, or abuse (sexual, emotional, verbal and/or neglect) it is imperative that they have an outlet to express their emotions and try to come to terms with their world in a way that makes sense to them. Indicators that a child may be having problems adjusting to stressful life situations include nightmares and sleep problems, eating problems, anxiety or depression, acts of aggression toward self or others, behavior problems at home and/or school, or academic difficulties. Through art, Mrs. DeHart-Young can discern whether there are cognitive and developmental problems that are making it difficult for the child to cope or if the issues are more purely emotional in nature. When used therapeutically art and play can help children overcome unique behavioral problems that are so often the symptoms of emotional distress. Mrs. DeHart-Young’s goal for each child she works with is to help that child to make meaning of their world and assimilate their experiences in a healthy way. Her focus is on the special nature of each child and on empowering the child to use creative problem solving skills through the processes of art and play to alleviate behavioral symptoms, express emotions safely, and increase self-esteem. Mrs. DeHart-Young works with children individually, in groups, in combination with one or both parents, and or with the family together.
Many times people associate Art Therapy as a modality only to be used with children. Art for the adolescent and adult can be as natural a process as for a child, however, many children over twelve as well as adults become critical of the aesthetic aspects of their art and therefore have lost touch with this natural method of tapping into our innermost wisdom. For this reason, initially, art therapy helps many an adolescent and adult become reacquainted with a potentially powerful pastime. Art therapy is not about being “talented” or “artistic”. Art therapy is a creative journey to help each individual find and unlock their healing potential within. Art therapy is about empowering each individual through the images and metaphors of their uniquely created art to grow and heal and, as such, is a rich and multilayered form of psychotherapy. Mrs. DeHart-Young takes the role of a privileged guide who accompanies each client on this journey and with a variety of art materials helps facilitate the process of accessing this abundant resource of self-knowledge. The images encountered on this journey are for reflection and greater awareness and the inherent wisdom they bear can bring one to a place of greater empowerment, fulfillment and joy in life.
Sara DeHart-Young holds a Master of Science degree in Art Therapy from the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia, her degree having been awarded in 1993. She is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC # 7310) and a Registered Art Therapist (ATR # 00-007). In addition to her clinical practice, Mrs. DeHart-Young teaches undergraduate psychology classes at Guilford College and a graduate class in Counseling Children incorporating art and play therapy at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Mrs. DeHart-Young’s services include individual, couple, family and group counseling with children, adolescents and adults. Her therapeutic approach reflects eclectic influences derived from her training in the Psychodynamic, Developmental, Cognitive-behavioral, Family systems, and Gestalt theories of counseling. She has training and special expertise with the following issues: