I posted this message on another site in answer to a similar question, and will repeat it here.
I have used computer based art therapy with children and adolescents who have emotional difficulties and learning disabilities. In fact the art therapy department at the special education school where I worked now has a computer and printer, and the children may choose to use it just as they choose other media. I would caution that some may choose it as a way to avoid other types of expression, and this would need to be explored. However, many children are able to bypass fine motor difficulties or inhibitions about their artisitic abilities by using computer art programs. Others seem to have an affinity with expression on the computer and really feel empowered by using it. Art work is created and processed much as it would be with any other medium. Many children find the computer offers advantages for self expression. Programs I have used include Kidpix, which is great for younger children, an older animation program called Autodesk Animator which is quite complex and takes some learning, but has lots more painting tools and colours available, as well as the added component of movement and time with the annimation; and also Storybook Weaver which is designed as a writing program and contains a great variety of appealing images of real and imaginary people, animals, objects and environments to create pictures to illustrate stories the child writes. The process with this program works much like sand tray therapy, with the ready-made images serving as symbolic objects and evoking imagery, while the child creates and writes a story to go with it. For some children the added distance of the computer and the images which some programs contain offers a level of safety much like collage, and potentially anxiety-provoking material can be processed with the safety of both metaphoric expression, and the added distancing of the computer screen. I have found that art therapy using computer imagery is rich and varied and offers many possibilites. I found the found the following web site abstract about computer art therapy: http://www3.sympatico.ca/diane.ranger/diane/abstract.htm. I hope this is helpful.
Robin Feldman, MA, ATR web site: http://www.islandnet.com/~sora/art/
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