cn_l_r_ann%20wier%20art%20therapist%20and%20lisa%20cholley%20play%20therapist--550?v=1

Language of the Heart

Crisis Nursery Art & Play Therapy

For the past 33 years, the Crisis Nursery has existed as a much-needed child abuse prevention organization to the residents of St. Charles County, St. Louis, East St. Louis, Lincoln and Jefferson Counties. For those unfamiliar with this amazing resource, the Crisis Nursery operates as a short-term safe place for children (birth-12) whose families are under duress due to such occurrences as illness, homelessness, domestic violence, or overwhelming parental stress. Parents are provided basic necessities such as formula, food, and diapers, tools for stress reduction, and are encouraged to pursue dreams and goals  that will secure family stability.

In addition to caring for the physical needs of the children, the Crisis Nursery also cares for the mental and emotional needs of its young participants. The Healing Hearts program is the Crisis Nursery’s Art and Play Therapy intervention program. This service is available to any child staying in the Nursery and those participating in the Family Empowerment Program.

Community Relations Director Bonnie Define offers that we “want to get them (the children) to a place where they are not carrying the stress of their situation. Play Therapy and Art Therapy are highly effective in helping children process trauma.”

Registered Play Therapist, Ann Wier says that art and play are the “languages most natural to children.” By speaking their language, Art and Play Therapists provide a safe and comforting environment for the expression of feelings and personal storytelling. By utilizing paint and other art materials, one child was able to create how they were feeling by creating a happy and sad side to a heart drawing. This child then proceeded to share “mad and sad feelings about their parents getting a divorce, but then happy feelings that they won’t have to see their parents fight anymore.”

Dolls, a dollhouse, puppets, sand tray, collage-creating, self-portraits, and journaling are just a few of the tools used within the Healing Hearts program to aid children in establishing healthy coping skills, positive self-image, calming techniques, and the regulation and expression of emotion. For most children, simply talking about one’s situation or emotions “might feel too scary to share,” suggests Ann. However, creative play and art interventions are able to remove fear from the equation to provide room for the child to find hope and needed healing. 

For those wishing to offer support and to see the artwork, the community is invited to attend the Crisis Nursery’s Healing Hearts Art Exhibition, sponsored by Picasso's and St. Charles County Lifestyle Magazine. This event is Thursday, February 13th from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at Picasso’s at The Streets of Saint Charles. This free event will give an opportunity to witness the healing power of a little paint and a lot of heart! The artwork will be on display throughout the month of February. 

"...creative play and art opportunities are able to remove fear from the equation to provide room for the child to find hope and needed healing."

Related Businesses

The Nelson-Atkins Museum

Community Services

The Nelson-Atkins Museum

Kansas City, MO

The Nelson-Atkins is a comprehensive art museum with works of art dating from ancient to contemporary.

Animal Hospital of West Chester

Pet Services

Animal Hospital of West Chester

West Chester, OH

We are a full service medical and surgical veterinary hospital for all types of cats and dogs and specialize in taking care...

The Fetchington Luxury Pet Hotel

Pet Services

The Fetchington Luxury Pet Hotel

West Chester, OH

See More

Related Articles

See More