Mindfulness through art: Surprise counseling center helping kids cope with uncertainty

2020 left so many struggling financially, physically and emotionally, with the events on the year taking a significant toll on children.

A counseling service in Surprise is hoping to help by getting mindful with art.

"Human beings...don't do well with uncertainty," said Jen St. Clair, a therapist at Full Life Counseling. St. Clair says kids need set routines - something they are struggling to maintain during these times.

The therapist says rates of depression and anxiety among kids and teenagers has tripled since last year because of the pandemic.

"Lots of kids are having somatic symptoms, so that means that they're [having] tummy aches, headaches...they're not wanting to get out of bed," said St. Clair.

She wants to introduce those struggling to a practice called mindfulness, which teaches people how to be aware of the present moment while noticing what is happening to them on the inside. For the younger patients, that can be done through art.

"This is a way of combining something fun with something that will be therapeutic at the same time, without it being therapy," St. Clair said. "Art in and of itself is very regulating...when you do artwork, it gets you in the front part of your brain."

The Surprise center will hold classes for two groups: Kindergarten - 2nd grade and 3rd - 5th grade.

According to St. Clair, mindfulness is typically achieved by sitting quietly and meditating, which isn't always fitting or easy for children. That's why she is hopeful that mindfulness with art will be so beneficial.

"It helps with positive perspectives, it helps with self awareness, it helps express emotions that are sometimes difficult to give a name," the therapist said.

Classes start Feb. 3. 

Check out their website: https://www.full-lifellc.com/

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