August, 18 2018

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Art Therapy Helping Troubled Teens in New York

Art therapy is the involvement of artistic self-expression to help people resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight. This practice integrates the fields of human development, visual art (drawing, painting, sculpture, and other art forms), and the creative process with models of counseling and psychotherapy. Art therapy is used with children, adolescents, adults, older adults, groups, and families to assess and treat a variety of conditions including anxiety, depression, emotional disorders, mental illness, trauma, and psychosocial difficulties related to medical illness. Art therapy programs are found in a number of settings including hospitals, clinics, public, and community agencies, wellness centers, educational institutions, businesses, and private practices.

At Ironwood Residential Treatment Center for troubled teens, art therapy is used as a free form of self-expression. Lesia Socher, Director of the Art Program at Ironwood, uses an explorative approach employing various mediums and subject matters to elevate the students' awareness into new ways of seeing and expose them to the infinite possibilities of creative expression. The masks on view in this exhibition were created by teens using mixed media and a plaster base. Each mask is a life-like imprint of the artist's face, bearing its own unique story and giving the viewer a peek into the teens' private inner reality. Viewers are encouraged to contemplate the artists' choice of colors, theme, mixed media, and natural features of the face portrayed as there is much insight to be gained about the therapeutic journey endured by the artists.

Related Articles:
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Sacramento Creates Two Programs for Troubled Teens 12/31/07
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Treatment Center in Indiana Expands 12/27/07
Wardle Academy in Wyoming Loses Funding 12/25/07

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