Art is well known to be a powerful medium of emotional expression. It is therefore not surprising that art is often used in psychology for various purposes, including helping patients cope with serious illness, boosting self-esteem, dealing with depression and stimulating the brain. Many therapists have found that art therapy offers particularly good results when dealing with teenagers, who often prove reluctant to express their feelings during traditional psychotherapy.
There are several reasons why art can help teenagers in a way verbal cross-examination can’t:
- Teenagers have less negative preconceptions about art therapy. Many teenagers are hesitant to talk about their issues with a psychologist due to their negative prejudices about the practice, shaped by popular culture and opinion. They may think that only “crazies” consult psychologists, or have a negative perception of “shrinks” altogether. Art therapy, on the other hand, has received less media exposure and may therefore be seen in a more positive light.
- Art therapy is less “invasive” than regular psychotherapy. This form of treatment is more casual and offers the patient more control than verbal cross-examination. Patientsare free to create what they want and explain as much as they want about their art, without any further interpretation on the psychologist’s part. Having expected their psychologist to forcefully squeeze their sorrows out of them, teenagers are pleasantly surprised and more willing to open up of their own free will.
- Art therapy keeps teenagers invested.Many teenagers are already naturally drawn to art, and art therapy is just an extension of this desire. Beyond just painting and drawing, art therapy can alsoin volve writing, music, sculpting, photography, and more. Keeping the activities varied can help keep a teenager’s interest sparked, preventing them from becoming jaded and bored by the treatment.
- Art allows teenagers to express emotions difficult to put in words. Some teenagers find it hard to verbally explain their state of mind due to various factors. Some simply lack the words to express their complex emotional state, while others may find theirs too embarrassing or too personal to share with anyone. Art may provide them with a way to express their emotions without feeling guilty or uncomfortable about it.
- Art provides an outlet for depression.Some teenagers will go to extreme lengths, occasionally including self-harm, to escape the inner pain of depression. For those teenagers, art can become a less harmful means of distraction from depression while also providing the psychologist with insight into the patient’s mental state.
Art therapy is a versatile form of psychotherapy that can be used not only to help teenagers, but adults as well. If you have a heavy weight bearing down on you, but can’t seem to put it in words, consult a local psychologist in Brossard to see if art therapy might be what you need.