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Art Therapy Can Be Helpful

answered 10:32 PM EST, Wed October 10, 2012
anonymous anonymous
My son has asperger’s and he is using alcohol and drugs. He is having a lot of trouble socially. He does not open up well to strangers. Is art therapy something that is going to be beneficial to him given his asperger’s? He is working with a psychiatrist but I feel he needs to explore some additional therapies.

Dr. Carol Bunch Says...

Dr. Carol Bunch C. Bunch

Art therapy is an excellent way for patients especially those with autism to facilitate emotional expression and improve self-confidence and self-esteem through the use of the group therapy format. It is use to improve and enhance the well-being of individuals of all ages not just children. According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy can assist with resolving conflicts and problems, developing interpersonal skills, managing behavior, reducing stress, reducing self-esteem and self- awareness, and achieving insight.

In addition, I would recommend substance abuse counseling. Drugs and alcohol are also used as a way to cope with anxiety and/or depression from dealing with been stigmatized or ostracized from their peers. The awkward attempts and social deficits of individuals with Asperger's often make them the outsider in their peer groups; therefore, engagement with others can been difficult. As a consequence, Asperger's does not cause substance abuse. The substance abuse can be caused by circumstances such as depression, anxiety, loneliness, or social reasons.

Art therapy is an excellent way to tap into the underlying consciousness of a patient. There's a level of insight that can come to the surface through art that has been trapped in the unconscious. In a group setting, a patient will be able to experience the "I'm not alone."  The art therapy technique can increase self-esteem and self-awareness.

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Page last updated Oct 11, 2012

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