Art Therapy

Art therapy can be particularly effective with teenagers who tend to view art-making activities as a nonthreatening form of clinical treatment. Teens tend to be attracted to making symbols and graphic images. Consequently, they often enjoy expressing meaning in nonverbal ways. Through this visual expression, an art therapist gains insight into the challenges a teenager faces, particularly situations that feel taboo or too embarrassing for words.

What Is Art Therapy?

Art therapy is an integrative mental health intervention that uses art-making as an interactive creative process within a therapeutic relationship. Led by art therapists, art therapy programs support treatment goals. Moreover, art therapy ideas and art therapy programs help foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, enhance social skills, and reduce conflict. Thus, the goal of art therapy is to empower teens to express feelings and emotions.

As opposed to language and verbal expression, art therapy employs integrative methods to engage mind, body, and spirit in the healing process. Therefore, perceptual and symbolic art therapy activities foster new forms of emotional communication. Furthermore, such visual expression gives voice to what often has been repressed, while also inspiring personal creativity.

Current forms of art therapy integrate elements of many therapeutic approaches, including cognitive behavioral, Gestalt, narrative, and family systems. Additionally, imagery taps into a person’s earliest way of knowing and reacting to the world. As a result, art therapy programs can help teenagers achieve greater insight into their emotional and psychological challenges.

Sources: American Art Therapy AssociationUS National Library of Medicine (NIH)National Endowment For The Arts–Creative Arts Therapy

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