Helping Teens Heal Through Expressive Therapy

Teens often communicate much about their issues, but their vulnerabilities will often hide their true feelings until they reach a breaking point. Substance abuse treatment centers for teenagers and teenage rehabilitation centers often use expressive therapies to get teens to communicate their true feelings or to get in touch with deep seeded emotions. Expressive therapies are defined as the use of art, music, dance, drama, writing or play acting done in within the confines of counseling, psychotherapy or rehabilitation. The integrative approach is blended with medical treatments for teenagers. Each of the expressive therapies has a purpose, as each form has can address each individual teen’s needs. Art can be more personal so it enhances the process of creativity. Music has many forms and lends itself to developing socialization. Dance allows interaction and relationships to form. Each type of creativity offers opportunities or ways to improve teen mental health.

Helping Teens Heal Through Expressive Therapy

Treatment and Intervention

Alcohol or drug abuse often puts teenagers out of touch with their feelings. The drug begins to replace true emotions with an unnatural high to the point where teens think that is the way they truly feel, as the drugs alter their state of mind. Under the guidance of a professional, a teen can be directed to a more positive path, but when left on their own, the allure of the unnatural high gets the teen off track. Expressive therapies offer a way to open up communication in a non threatening way, as they help clients draw an idea, review an event with a dialogue, or use music to express a feeling. Therapists can assess the mood of the teen this way without prying. The activities allow teens to experience themselves differently. This gives insight into behavior on behalf of the therapist who can then offer a path to resolution of inner conflicts and cause a better balance in emotions. At the same time it offers a positive form of expression that is acceptable. Sometimes words do not adequately describe inner pain so expressive therapy creates an outlet for individuals to deal with their pain in a healthy way. It helps teens overcome inhibitions and give them the strength to no longer resort to compromising inner standards and participating in habits that are not conducive to their overall health.

Teen Programs

When enrolling a teen into a program, make sure the therapy practices specifically cater to that age group’s needs. Ask how often evaluations of the teenager occur since growth spurts and changes in brain development can require different medication needs or more frequent adjustments. Helping a teen heal or resolve issues through creativity is much more positive than punitive punishment. After all, the teen is not a criminal, but a human being struggling with an issue that may or may not have been initiated by him or her.