Art therapy is a form of expressive therapy that uses the creative process of making art to improve a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Expressing one’s self artistically can help people to resolve issues, manage their behaviors, understand their emotions, reduce stress, improve self-esteem, and increase awareness of self and others. This in turn can promote personal development, increase coping skills, and enhance cognitive function.
Art therapists are professionals trained in both art and therapy. They work with the youth in our care to reflect on the underlying messages communicated through their art, thereby aiding in the healing process. Art therapists are knowledgeable about human development, psychological theories, clinical practice, spiritual, artistic traditions, and the healing potential of art.
The youth in our care have been highly receptive to the art therapy program, evidenced by high participation rate and consistent engagement. Residents have voiced their joy of making art and have shown great pride in their art projects. Their pride can be seen when taking their art work with them and sharing it with their peers and staff or when making artwork for an important person in their life. Several clients who initially were mildly engaged have grown to enjoy art so much that they have voiced a desire to study art. Additionally, several residents have expanded their engagement with the art beyond their therapy session and are using their leisure time to paint and draw. Areas in some of our program facilities have been dedicated for art making during non-art therapy session.
In addition to the benefit of increased self-esteem and positive sense of self in their social milieu, art therapy helped to foster a greater sense of self awareness with many of the residents as well as enhanced the clients ability to explore aspects of their past and present. This is evidenced by the clients increase in self-disclosure and self-reflection as seen throughout their sessions.
Art therapy has been frequently used as a tool for relaxation and when in crisis, clients who have attended art therapy often were able to de-escalate and return back to the program.
We collaborate with other nonprofits in the community such as So What Else, Olney Theatre Center, and Arts on the Block to provide unique opportunities for our youth to experience art in the community and to support their healing, growth and development.