About Art Therapy

All of the youth referred to AHFY have suffered some type of trauma in their lives ranging from neglect to physical and sexual abuse. AHFY understands the importance of providing trauma informed care. Art therapy is the deliberate use of art-making to address psychological and emotional needs. Art therapy uses art media and the creative process to help in areas such as, but not limited to: fostering self-expression, creating coping skills, managing stress, and strengthening sense of self.

The Hero’s Journey

This youth was directed to connect with a time in his life when he needed someone there for him, (preferrably before the age of 10) and then create an art piece that represents what he needed at the time. This drawing is the youth’s current 17 year old self providing guidance and protection for his younger self.

Create an emotion

This youth was having a particularly difficult day. He was offered an art therapy session and asked to identify an emotion he was feeling. He identified “angry” as an emotion that was causing him problems (the bigger figure). When processing at the end of the session he spontaneously created “happy” (the smaller figure). He and his therapist took pictures of them together.


Talking Stick

The talking stick is a Native American tradition and was commonly used in council circles to designate who had the right to speak. When matters of great concern came before the council, the leading elder would hold the talking stick and begin the discussion. When he finished what he had to say he would hold out the talking stick, and whoever wished to speak after him would take it. Whoever holds the talking stick has within his hands the sacred power of words. Only he can speak while he holds the stick; the other council members must remain silent.
Carol Locust, Ph.D.
Native American Research and Training Center

Self Image

The youth were given a directive to create a piece of art that represtend positive qualities of Self including compassion, calm, courage, confidence, creativity, connectedness and curiosity.

Giving back to the community
The youth participated in a fundraiser to give back to the community. Each youth created a star that was auctioned and the proceeds benefited other youth in need of community mental health services.