Creative Therapies for Teens

Creative therapies are an invaluable resource for adolescent treatment. Adolescents often benefit from treatment modalities that do not only focus on the cognitive processing interventions but focus instead on a growing range of alternative and diverse methods. The brains of adolescents are still growing and, sometimes, experiences with art and creativity can help express deeper feelings.

Finding a Modality

Many artistic modalities exist that may be valuable for adolescents to express their true selves, both in therapy and everyday lives. The artistic mediums may include any of the following:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Coloring
  • Music
  • Writing

Anything that involves an expressive process is a great way to engage young people in therapeutic techniques that deliver a positive approach to recovery.


Music is an important part of adolescents’ lives. Social groups are a great way to encourage teen interaction with one another and express deeply held emotions. In therapy, music can provide a pathway for counselors to establish a relationship with clients in a different way. This collective path to expression of emotions may be difficult but will likely work better than traditional talk therapy methods. Some different music interventions that can be incorporated include:

  • Group work around learning a song to play together
  • Writing a song that is performed or recorded
  • Creating a playlist that represents a time in that person’s life

Creative Therapy Techniques

One activity that is help for families of young children is called “The Land of No Rules.” The family divides into smaller groups to facilitate every member of the family expressing views of the family rules. From this a picture is drawn of a place where no rules exist and the groups are asked to create a drawing of the land with rules and explain them and how it helps build structure for the family. This is a great outside the box way of thinking, processing and building positive parent-child interactions. It can create creative, collaborative processes for the entire family to engage in with one another. Teens often feel a disconnect from the parents as they grow older and try to forge independent pathways into adulthood, yet still need parental supervision and support. This is a great way to build connection with teens.

Many ways exist to have creative therapies that assist adolescents and families in understanding dynamics of relationships with family. Creative therapies help individuals connect with others in their lives and build bridges of understanding in new and different ways that will help manage mental health issues.


The Villa believes there are many pathways to recovery. There is no one-size-fits-all approach which sets us apart as we seek to provide individual, tailored recovery programs to suit each person that walks through our doors. Call us to find out how we can support you in your journey to recovery from addiction.