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Painting Happiness

DATE: 17/7/2021 | Articles

Sophia Koukourli, Art Psychotherapist

Art as Therapy Groups for Primary School Students - My World’s Image III

What are these things that will turn a child into a happy adult?

"The strongest predictor for a happy adult life is not children's qualifications, but their emotional health" (Clark et al., 2016).

With a vision of Child Welfare, the Program of Creative Development through Painting (Art as Therapy) was created in 2017, "My World’s Image ", for Primary Education students, was awarded by the Education Leaders Awards 2020 and continues, with a large participation of children.

The aim of the program is the cultivation and creative utilization of soft skills of students, such as: creative thinking and cognitive flexibility, empathy, mental empowerment, effective communication, collaboration, problem solving, adaptability, organization and time management.

When children draw from memory they create forms, which are disguised derivatives of their relationships with the important others in their lives. They manifest something real from their inner world and give it the form of a new truth (Freud, 1911), of their truth.

This idea of ​​the new truth essentially introduces the hypothesis that with the visual formation, takes place not only the expression of a psychic content, but also its transformation (Aloupis P. et al. 2016). The creation of new visual forms is invested emotionally, which makes us assume that this externalization is important, because it allows them to see something.

The program works with thematic circles and specific sections. In one of the sections of the program "My World’s Image III" the students painted "Happiness". Seeing happiness through the eyes of children, we conclude that it is the simple things that make children happy:

  • Relationships with loved ones: children invest in human relationships. Research has shown that the most important component of happiness is healthy interpersonal relationships.
  • Their animals: the effect of animals on children is beneficial for many reasons and they seem to realize it and invest in relationships with them.
  • Their electronic game and victory in it: children put it in a high position for their happiness.
  • A good self-image: is an important factor in their personality, as a positive self-image is consistent with a high self-esteem and self-confidence. The child is optimistic and believes in his success, as he is aware of its advantages and disadvantages.
  • Other factors: grades, travel, birthdays, ice cream, music, gifts. The happiness of children is not hidden in expensive gifts. Gifts were the last resort for their happiness.


Children know that they can be happy with the simplest things!


Bibliographic Sources:


  1. Clark, A., Flèche, S., Layard, R., Powdthavee, N., & Ward, G. (2016), Origins of Happiness: Evidence and policy implications. available at
  2. Freud S. (1911), Formulations on the two principles of mental functioning
  3. Rubin J., (1997), Healing Children through Art: Understanding Children and Helping Them Grow Up Through Painting, Hellenic Letters Publications
  4. Malchiodi C., (2009), Understanding Children's Painting, 5th edition, Hellenic Letters Publications
  5. Malchiodi C., (2009), Art Therapy - A Practical Guide, Greek Letters
  6. Aloupis P., Aser A., ​​Dimopoulos V., Zervis Ch., Ioannidis Ch., Manolopoulos S., Savvopoulos S., Skoulika A., Tzavaras N. (2016), Aspects of the object in psychoanalysis


The images are subject to intellectual property laws and therefore cannot be reproduced.

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“Knowing thyself” (gnothi sauton) is the actual getting to knowing ourselves. Its true essence lies in caring for the soul, self-awareness, awareness of our skills, abilities and potential. It helps us understand the way we could act in order to gain the real self-awareness.

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