Teens use art therapy as a means of expressing experiences related to drug use and recovery


The Phoenix House Teen Center uses art as a means of expressing feelings and experiences related to drug and alcohol use and recovery. Teens have the opportunity to take part in art therapy groups and activities. During groups, individual members may work on their own art or engage in group therapy activities that involve art making.

Art therapy is a different kind of treatment. At the Phoenix House Teen Center, youths use different art media and various images to produce art through the creative process. The teens then reflect on their work. The artwork gives the teens a chance to think about different aspects of their lives, specifically their drug and alcohol abuse. Art therapy is used with all populations and has been found to help clients work on dealing with their emotions, building social skills, and developing behavior management and self awareness. The art also helps people to solve problems, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase self esteem. Many teens in recovery like to use art therapy as a time to create pieces of art that express their journeys from addiction to sobriety. A lot of adolescents claim, “I can’t draw.” They find out soon enough, however, that everyone can self-express through art. Most even find that they really enjoy it.

At the Phoenix House Teen Center, clients also have the opportunity to get involved in mural painting. The new building has provided a perfect canvas for murals. The excitement of adding color to the walls has brought a great deal of energy and enthusiasm to the Teen Center.  Many adolescents have helped repaint the walls with murals illustrating the Phoenix House Philosophy. These paintings have enriched the quality of life in the building. Every teen has the chance to get involved!


Description provided by Charity O’Neill, M.A.

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