National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families

Art from the Heart: Using Art Therapy in a Group for Urban Middle School Girls

Sassen, G.,
Spencer, R.,
Curtin, P. C.
Journal Article
Year Published: 2005
The Haworth Press, Inc.
Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, Vol. 1(2):67-79, 2005
Jean Baker Miller Training Institute

These authors describe an interactive preventive intervention that is being used in groups for middle school and late elementary school age girls. Girls who participate in these groups experience chronic challenges to their healthy development within their own families and from societal problems that affect their schools and neighborhoods. Art from the Heart merges Relational-Cultural Theory (RCT) with creative art techniques and group psychotherapy. A specific goal for this intervention is to help low-income, racially and ethnically diverse girls improve their connections with each other, enhance their relational self-esteem, and learn the difference between growth-fostering and exploitive relationships. Specific techniques encourage the expression of "feeling thoughts" and other interpersonal dynamics that do not lend themselves well to words. The interactive nature of the art projects creates a context where interpersonal disconnections can be explored and understood, and connections can be celebrated, both by talking and by making art. Modified Author Abstract.

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