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Art Therapy For Teens

By June 10, 2017November 29th, 2018Dr. Beatriz Mann, Teen Counseling

Don’t believe the jokes you hear about art therapy being some “hippy-dippy” nonsense. Turns out, it can really help. Beyond that, it can really help your teen express their feelings, when they can’t find the right words.

There is a lot of misinformation out there in relation to art therapy. Often in media, it tends to be referred to, but as the butt of a bad joke. However, art therapy is proven to be very effective and helpful. For teens in particular, art therapy can be a safe way to engage in the therapeutic process.

How can art therapy help?

Art therapy for teens can be a way of safely expressing their hurt, anxieties, or depression. In contrast to traditional verbal therapy, that can sometimes feel like an intense Q&A session, art therapy tends to put teens at ease as it is generally non-threatening and puts the teen in control.

Art Therapy for Teens

How can art therapy help?

Art therapy for teens can be a way of safely expressing their hurt, anxieties, or depression. In contrast to traditional verbal therapy, that can sometimes feel like an intense Q&A session, art therapy tends to put teens at ease as it is generally non-threatening and puts the teen in control.

Furthermore, art therapy helps to externalize your teen’s problem. In other words, by using art your teen is able to depict the behavior or emotion in an image, which externalizes the issue, rather than it being an inherent characteristic. This shift is important as it gives the teen some separation from the issue and may give then an increased sense of hope. Inherent characteristics are hard to change, but external behaviors are easier to problem-solve.

What we find as teens (and even as adults!) is that some emotions are just too strong to be expressed in words. In that way, art therapy is an effective way for teens to vent strong emotions. Indeed, teens may find that they do not even have the words to adequately express what is going on. Engaging in visual representations can give words to what is going on. They can bring tangible meaning to something that was previous obscure. This ends up helping teens feel better. The emotions that they have carried around like a heavy backpack are finally expressed.

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Dr. Mann is a licensed psychologist that specializes in healthy coping, college adjustment, anxiety, personal identity, balance, and mindfulness.

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