Why Art Therapy

The art-making and creative process is rooted in a human’s need to communicate and to know. Through the creative process, we are privileged to discover new meanings and relationships; we are able to create a practical path to the unseen and then bring it to a place of reality through Art Therapy.

Both focus on the development of positive social skills, life skills, good decision-making and resilience. Both encourage self-reflection, self-awareness, self-regulation and commitment. Participating in Art Therapy provides a safe and tangible outlet for underlying thoughts and feelings, which is all about prevention. Anti-social behaviors, such as theft, drugs, alcohol and risky sexual behavior, are less likely to occur where safe outlets and opportunities for self-expression are available.

They begin to see themselves, their peers and their community in a different way. Working to create an image, dance, performance or poem requires self-discipline and communication with other; it also requires taking the risk of trying something new or extraordinary.

This is done through art exhibits, events and volunteerism. Community leaders see the youth as positive members of the community and youth are able to take ownership of their community in a way that is productive, not destructive. As a result, youth develop more positive relationships with authority figures. The growth of these relationships often lead to a better mutual understanding between these two groups, allowing for better collaboration and communication.

A Co-Facilitation Model

We work in a community-based group setting with a co-leader approach to model co-parenting and to offer a wider range of artistic skill sets. The model we’ve found to be most effective to activate change and reach Youth at diverse levels and abilities is two facilitators. For deeper, therapeutic interventions, ArtVan’s unique co-facilitation model allows the Art Therapist to focus on emotional space and the other Therapist on the product, prompting insight into sensitive material

When a Youth laughed at her own drawing, the Teaching
Artist invited the Art Therapist to help them explore the disconnect of effect (humor) and subject matter (suicide). Together they supported the Youth’s artistic expression, technique, and difficult feelings that she may have been unable to express without Art as the conduit.

The creative process and resulting artwork offer problem-solving opportunities for Youth struggling with internal and external conflicts and isolation, help build acceptance and self-esteem, and promote empowerment.

Supportive Co-Facilitation in Action