Art is used to stimulate the creativity and imagination of teenagers. This can help with depression of teenagers. Arts like music, dance, drama, clay working, painting and drawing allow teenagers with depression to express their feelings, when usually they might find it difficult.
The idea is to illustrate to them that feelings are supposed to be fully expressed, and not repressed or kept secret. It is important to show them that they don’t have to be ashamed about the way they feel.
It is said that to write down your fears is halfway towards conquering them. Writing can help teenagers with depression to escape their fears.
Therapists often suggest that teenagers use some of the following ideas to help their depression.
Teenagers can write:
- a daily diary
- a short novel about themselves
- a portrait of their depression
- what their depression would look like if it was an animal
- a letter to express anger against someone
- a description of the nuances of depression imagined as a colour
- the description of images obtained using free imagination
Teenagers with depression can also improve their own understanding by reading through the pages of a daily diary.
Music therapy can involve:
- singing along with the lyrics of a song to release trapped emotions
- changing the words of a song and discussing the corresponding changes in emotion
- expressing rage by discussing a song with violent lyrics
- improving mood with upbeat music
- listening to soothing music to relax
Dance helps to relax the body making our emotional expression more fluid.
Teenagers can express their feelings through dance in many ways:
- dancing very fast or very slow
- mirroring the movements of others
- inventing a dance routine
- telling a story through dance
- attempting to understand the story told by someone else through dance
With drama, teenagers can explore new ways of being and behaving;
- tell a story to an audience
- change the details and ending of a story, and exploring the changes in mood
- if they have a conflict with someone, they can play out a scene in which they impersonate the other person
- play a scene where they are free to act out their feelings
- in a group setting, they can take turns playing different roles
Drawing and painting
Putting feelings down on paper by drawing and painting can also be extremely beneficial to teenagers with depression.
Some of the activities which can be suggested to them are:
- paint an image of how they imagine others see them
- draw their sadness and colour it
- create a self-portrait
There is no need for an abundance of artistic talent here, and there should be no judgment.
Teenagers are free to share any thoughts or feelings that they so desire, but there should be no obligation, and no interpretations should be made.
What positives can come through the use of art in helping to cure depression in teenagers?
When using art to express emotions, teenagers can enjoy, maybe for the first time in their life, these benefits:
- no pressure on their performance
- no judgment on the quality of their artistic creation
- pleasure to create, and to love what they create
- no grades
- freedom to explore unconventional ways of expressing feelings
- no necessity for the existence of moral lessons in their creations
- no teaching of moral lessons through suggestion of particular forms of creation
- freedom to express any sort of feeling, even if usually repressed
- a sense of control: when creating, teenagers are in control, nobody tells them what to create, for which purpose, or with what meaning
- a sense of trust in their ability to create and a sense of freedom from comparisons
- being allowed to fall in love with their creativity
What if our life was an art?
What if we were to regain a sense of artistic creation in everything we do in life? What if our work was to become art instead of a race for success? What if we would like to teach our children the art of living, but feel compelled instead to teach them performance, competition, social status and production? Ideas far detached from art. What if we all secretly craved art as our reality, instead of the rat race?
The father and the castle of sand
I remember once seeing a child on a beach making a sand castle. He was making it his own individual way, it was unique and beautiful. His father came with a bucket full of wet sand, and without asking his son for permission (a father doesn’t need his son’s permission, does he?), he turned the bucket over on his son’s castle, destroying it.
He said: “Dad will show you how to make a good castle!”
I was watching the scene and couldn’t help asking: “Why are you destroying your son’s castle? It was very beautiful and artistic!”
He replied: “Because artists don’t make money!”
Is it really good for us to obliterate art from our life for sake of money, production and success?
I think that depression of teenagers is a sign that we are failing to make art out of our lives.
Where to go now?
- Back to the home page, Depression teens: a scary problem with an easy solution.
- From Depression of teenagers: can art help? to Psychology for teenagers. What is psychology about? Why is it important to know yourself? How to read a psychological book?
The answers to these questions and more in the following page.