The Effects of Art Therapy and Relaxation Training on the Anxiety Levels and Acting-Out Behaviors of Adolescent Males with Emotional Disturbances

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Bennett, Justine
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
Various disciplines are beginning to use relaxation training as intervention in counseling. Research suggests that relaxation training can help reduce stress and reduce impulsivity. Little research, however, exists on the practical application of relaxation training and art therapy. Although the characteristics of emotionally disturbed adolescents have been the subject of much research and the poor outcomes of these adolescents have been well documented, relatively little research has been conducted to examine the benefits of art therapy and relaxation training with this particular population. The researcher was interested in finding additional coping skills to help appease the disturbed adolescents. The researcher realized the significance of art therapy, but was hoping to provide the students an additional tool that could be used at home, in the neighborhood, or in the classroom. This experimental study compared the use of relaxation training and art therapy and art therapy alone within a group setting of adolescent males diagnosed with emotional disturbances. Participation in groups was voluntary, and participants were randomly assigned to the control group or study group. All of the subjects took anxiety scales prior to and after the intervention. Teachers documented the subjects’ behaviors before and after the therapeutic intervention.