From time to time, I join one of our online art therapy sessions. It's a good way to stay connected to our frontline services so that I understand first hand the issues that children present and how the groups play out. The best approach is to participate in a light touch way rather than being a passive observer which could unsettle the children. The group I joined recently is made up of the siblings of children with renal failure, who are either preparing for or have had kidney transplants. So, its purpose is to support the siblings by helping them to understand and process their anxieties.

Led by art therapist, Megan, the gentle warm-up exercise had us simply drawing a line across a page (a bit like a graph) to indicate how our moods have changed over a period of time. We were then asked to share it and explain some of the rises and falls. It helped the children to see that although there are low points, the line rises again each time.

The main focus of the session was drawing a vision through three doors - the past, the present and the future. We were asked to think about something we'd like to leave behind, something we're grateful for now, and something we look forward to in the future. 

I drew myself at age 19 after a road traffic accident with my knee heavily bandaged following surgery. I said that although it was a bad experience, I do not mind seeing my scar because it reminds me that I am a survivor. Healing is something that we can take strength from. I hope this resonated with the children. My second drawing is of some old friends I've recently reconnected with who are important to me. It's been a joy to experience comfortable familiarity and picking up where we left off. We all need good friends who have walked with us along our path. My third picture - a wish for the future which I am looking forward to - is having a small dog. It will be lovely to have a K9 companion, especially as I'm now an active walker.   


Using art in this way enables children who are anxious to think about their situation and see through and beyond it without feeling pressured to talk more than they're comfortable doing. A key skill of the art therapist is in the gentle prompts they provide. The children's drawings are naturally very important to them and they keep them safe as a record of their journey and progress.

It was a privilege to join the group. Thank you Megan and the children.  

Sarah Randell, CEO