Art is a part of human psychology. 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.
The integration of an arts program with a prevention program is natural. 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.
Arts programs help youth learn new attitudes. 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.
Arts programs provide youth the opportunity to participate within their larger community. 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.