The impact of domestic violence on children an art therapy case study

An “angry or controlling partner is a daily presence in your children’s lives and minds. Their emotional experiences, their perceptions of … sent by the abuser the example his behaviour sets” (Bancroft, 2004, p.23). [replace reference with professional source]. The emotions of the child are the least of many people’s worries when parents are involved in an abusive relationship. However, children are always negatively impacted. John Bowlby (as cited in Howe, 2005), for one was “absorbed by the possible impact that social and environmental events might have on children’s development” (p. xiii). As children develop in their childhood, exposure to emotionally detrimental events may lead to unhappy feelings or unfulfilling adulthood. “Emotions refer to our bodies, brains and minds react when aroused meaningful events…emotions are manifested bodily, particularly in the form of facial expressions. Feelings refer to the subjective experience of these psychological, physiological and neurological states” (Howe, 2005, p.11). Both the abused parent and child will face emotional change when in an abusive relationship. Adults in abusive relationships tend to be the focus when therapy is offered. Children tend to keep the knowledge of the abuse to themselves for fear of being blamed. Then they may:
devote all their own energy to whatever they think will keep their parents from fighting. They will also exhibit poor health, low self esteem, poor impulse control, difficulty sleeping, and feelings of powerlessness. Problems at school often will include difficulty in getting along with others, fewer interests and social activities, misconducts, and poor academic performance. They are at risk for drug and alcohol abuse, inappropriate sexual behaviour, running away, isolation, suicide and extreme loneliness and fear. Some become withdrawn, other rebel. Most feel that