Narrative and Art Therapy for Students with Learning Differences: An Integrative Literature Review and Picture Book
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The ability to regulate emotions is a key therapeutic need for students with learning difference that presents challenges to their emotional health, and also impacts their academic performance and social interactions in the school setting. An integrative literature review was conducted to explore the therapeutic possibility of combining narrative therapy and art therapy for students with learning differences. Five areas of the literature were examined and integrated: learning differences, therapeutic treatment of students with learning differences in the school setting, emotional regulation, narrative therapy, and art therapy. An additional search was conducted to find published narrative and picture-based books related to emotional regulation used in a school setting. The resulting data was used to support the creation of a narrative therapeutic tool for art therapists and related professionals such as school counselors to use with this population. A Creative Safari asks the reader/client to respond to various emotional-focused prompts creatively using art-making throughout the entire story. This unique approach combines elements from art therapy and narrative therapy, two approaches found to be beneficial for this population in the literature. Recommendations for further research include field testing of A Creative Safari by art therapists and counselors to further refine this tool.