Combining Nature-Based Therapy and Art Therapy among Adolescents with Depression and Anxiety

Thumbnail Image
McGarry, Joan
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
This thesis addressed the prevalence of mental health needs among adolescents (ages 11- 15) and the increase in the disengagement amongst humans and nature. Research and field studies were conducted and data collected at a summer rehabilitation day program for adolescents with an anxiety and/or depression diagnosis. The study revealed a decrease in the signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression with adolescents after involvement in nature-based art therapy. In the first trial, 73% of the participants demonstrated improvement in their anxiety levels and in the second trial there was 100% improvement. Depression levels for participants improved 100% in the first and second trial. In addition, there was evidence the Formal Elements Art Therapy Scale (Gantt & Tabone, 2003) scores increased with each additional art intervention. Eight out of 10 participants had an increase in FEATS scores and the two remaining had the highest FEATS score in both interventions. Consequently, the remaining two were unable to score any higher.