It also relieved the pressure to focus on making the “other kids” feel better. Campbell noted that even if they’re scared, it’s “easier to talk about the ‘other kids.'”
Rather than using the word ‘safe’, which can ‘be a loaded concept for kids who never feel safe’, Campbell used ‘quiet’ and ‘peaceful’, which really resonated with the students.
But really, it gave the kids something to “do” that they felt was useful. Children, like adults, want to feel useful when they feel helpless. And they loved the idea that they could help the ‘other kids’ feel better (they were the ones who were scared, but it’s easier to talk about the ‘other kids’)
— Dr. K8 PsyD (@psych_k8) May 25, 2022
Soon, the school was filled with “rainbows, beaches, pretty flowers, playgrounds and happy landscapes”, which remained standing for weeks.
“I’m pretty sure it helped adults too,” she joked.
Art therapy can be a valuable tool at any age, but it can be especially beneficial for children who (hopefully) haven’t had the complex, hard-to-articulate emotions that result from trauma. As psychologist Cathy Malchiodi explains in her book “The reference book of art therapy” “The language of the visual arts – colors, shapes, lines and images – speaks to us in ways that words cannot.”
Incorporating a sense of helping others and focusing on “calm” imagery was another brilliant layer Campbell added to her exercise, and she quickly received an outpouring of support for her suggestion. Overall, people were relieved and inspired.
“Beautiful use of a simple mindfulness practice to foster peace, calm and selflessness, all important in times of crisis. Thanks for sharing,” one person wrote.
“Honestly the idea made me feel like a breath of fresh air. Such a sweet and positive thing, so simple yet effective,” another wrote.
The massacre at Elemental Robb in Ulvade, Texas is the second deadliest shooting at an elementary school in the United States, following sand hook in 2012. There’s no getting around these statistics. It’s nauseating and horrible. I feel the parents and teachers trying to fight for change, protect their children and keep their spirits up all at the same time. Happy doodles may seem insignificant during such a dark time for humanity, but as Campbell can attest, they make a difference.