The Impact of Art Therapy on Social Problem Solving with Adolescents At-Risk for or Labeled Emotionally and Behaviorally Disabled

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Mueller, Theresa
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
A significant number of today’s youth have mental health issues (U.S. Department of | Health and Human Services [USDHSS], 1999) warranting or putting them at risk for the label “Emotional and Behavioral Disabled” (EBD). This seven-week pilot study proposed to integrate art interventions into a developmentally appropriate prevention and treatment plan involving positive social problem solving skills training. The purpose of the intervention was to target deficits in social problem solving noted in this population (Frauenknecht & Black, 2003). Essential to this study’s premise is the importance of creativity in social problem solving (D'Zurilla & Nezu, 2002), the developmental appropriateness of nurturing creativity during adolescence (Dai & Shen, 2008) and the use of art therapy. Pre- and postcomparisons were made using the Social Problem Solving Inventory for Adolescents (SPSIA) (Frauenknecht & Black, 2003). Although the subject group, and all five males from both groups showed score increases, final results were deemed statistically insignificant. Implications are addressed.