Teens who are struggling with emotional and behavioral challenges have a hard time finding appropriate ways to express themselves. They often feel inadequate and isolated from the world around them when they can’t express how they feel. As a result, they may struggle academically or turn to self-destructive behaviors like eating disorders and addiction. Art therapy gives teens alternative ways of expressing themselves when they struggle to find the right words or when communicating with others. Plus, it is a healthier outlet than other coping mechanisms. Integrating art therapy into Solstice’s academic curriculum allows students to earn transferable credits for getting in touch with their creativity and emotions.

What is Art Therapy?

Like other types of experiential therapy, art therapy takes a “backdoor therapeutic approach.” Although many teens may be resistant to typical methods like talk therapy, when they learn to express themselves in alternative ways, they may not even realize how vulnerable they have been. Art therapy is a strategy for teens that encourages them to experiment with a variety of art materials and to be intentional with their experience, either by describing the effects of the artistic process or in creating something worth a thousand words. 

Some examples of art therapy may include:

  • Self-portraits that show how they think others see them or how they see themselves
  • Keeping a visual journal to keep track of daily activities
  • Collaging from women’s or health magazines about body image
  • Sculpting a representation of their family from clay
  • Visually describing a certain emotion
  • Changing the narrative around a memory or experience

Benefits of Art Therapy

You don’t have to be an artist to find art therapy beneficial. In art therapy, it is not about the final product, but rather the process. It’s up to however the teen interprets what they’ve made and whatever information they choose to share. Even if they struggle with talking about their experiences, art therapy is a great way for teens to externalize their inner world. The main goal is increasing self-awareness, not sharing it with others. 

Some reasons teens may find art therapy effective include:

  • Non-threatening with less of a direct focus on the teen.
  • A safe outlet for expressing what they are feeling inside.
  • A process over which the teen feels a sense of control.
  • The session is both interesting and creative.
  • A way to discover underlying thoughts and feelings.
  • Easier to develop a strong relationship with the therapist.

Visual Arts Curriculum at Solstice

While our core curriculum is consistent with local standards, Solstice offers the following creative arts classes to help teens explore their interests and find new positive methods of self-expression:

  • Art Foundations I & II: These Introductory classes for freshman and sophomores emphasize the fundamentals of art and give previews of a variety of styles, like two and three-dimensional design and drawing. Students learn a variety of basic art concepts, like color theory, studio techniques, and aesthetics as they experiment with various types of media. Teens learn about the history behind different art movements and how they shaped later styles. Students will demonstrate a basic knowledge of art history through tests and individual student projects. This course covers art basics such as criticism, studio techniques, elements and principles, aesthetics, and history from the beginning of the 20th century to the present.
  • Drawing: Drawing is the basic language that an artist uses in order to create any work of art. This class uses drawing to create any work of art, whether it be painting or making jewelry. Solstice’s drawing classes teach students how to accurately see and record objects using a variety of media such as colored pencils, pastels, and graphite. 
  • Painting: This elective class allows students to apply what they learned from the Art Foundations classes to painting. They explore various mediums and canvases to create expressive work based on classic and contemporary art. here is an emphasis on classic and contemporary application of oil and other media. Topics include the use of composition, color, texture, form and value through still life, landscape, portrait, figure and old masters reproduction. 

Self-expression is a powerful tool for confidence, assertiveness, and connectivity.

Solstice Can Help 

Solstice Residential Treatment Center is a program for young girls ages 14-18 who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and relationship struggles. This program provides three types of therapy: individual, group, and family therapy along with an accredited academic program that emphasizes creative expression and experiential learning. Solstice Residential Treatment Center is dedicated to teaching young women how to incorporate healthy habits into their lives. Students will leave with the skills they need to transition into the world feeling confident, happy, and able to manage their emotions. 

Contact us at 866-278-3345. We can help your family today!