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Creative Treatment: Troubled Teens Benefit From Creative Arts Therapy

Norwalk Daily Voice - 3/8/2017

FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Whether it's the strum of a guitar, a flash of a camera or the stroke of a paintbrush, teens at Newport Academy are using creative arts to help them overcome anxiety, depression and other mental-health disorders.

Creative Arts Therapy is part of the comprehensive treatment program at Newport Academy, a teen treatment center for adolescents dealing with mental health challenges or substance abuse. Creative Arts Therapy differs from traditional talk therapy, as it allows teens to express themselves without words and prepares them to be creative in other aspects of life. Adolescence can be a challenging time. Teens may not want to communicate directly. Art therapy allows them to communicate through other means and in doing so, leads to new approaches in dealing with pain, trauma and difficult relationships.

"Teens who are good with words can use them as a disguise rather than a method of self-discovery," said Jamison Monroe, Jr., founder and CEO of Newport Academy. "For other adolescents, talk therapy doesn't work and discussing feelings may be frightening or uncomfortable."

Creative Arts Therapies, including music and visual art interventions, are proven alternative options for teens and go to the heart of what they're experiencing.

"Many teens in recovery know what they're 'supposed' to say in therapy," said Kristin Wilson, who holds a master's degree in Creative Arts Therapies and is the director of clinical research at Newport Academy. "Teens know the buzzwords and the talk therapy process can be impacted by that. The creative process doesn't allow for that kind of manipulation to happen."

Creative Arts Therapy at Newport Academy can range from simply listening to music and viewing art, to creating music, photography and painting. According to Wilson and the experts at Newport Academy, the creative experience produces a natural high and gives teens a sense of fulfillment and happiness.

"Teens who abuse substances are trying to escape feelings," said Wilson. "Expressing who they are, without words, can lead to an authentic connection with themselves and allows them to make authentic connections with others."

Newport Academy has several locations throughout the United States, including residential programs, recovery day schools and outpatient programs for mental health and substance abuse. For more information or to find a campus near you, click here.


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