Can Art Therapy Be an Effective Aid to Hong Kong Probation Youth?

Can Art Therapy be an effective aid to Hong Kong probation youth?

    In nowadays Hong Kong, rather than keep practicing past rigid education method, interaction between students and teachers are more encouraged. Discipline and rules only make teenagers feel antipathy. In contrast, applying a two-way communication method may lead to teenagers more willing to tell. Recently, art therapy, a psychological intervention, uses art as a method of communication (Kayleigh & Melanie, 2013), rises up in different countries and it had been a hot trend in Hong Kong for a short period. The “Secret Garden” coloring book authored by Johanna Basford which sold over 1.5 million copies (Mossman, 2015) is a popular example. For general public, art therapy may be a fresh and interesting treatment for release stress. But for probation youth, who may suffered from serious mental illness, is art therapy useful for curing them? In the following, the relationship between art therapy and probation youth will be discussed, whether art therapy is a suitable way of communicating with probation youth or not, whether art therapy brings any benefits and harms to probation youth, and the most important, whether art therapy is an effective aid for probation youth to solve their problem.

Background of Art Therapy
“We all known the power of art, its power to galvanize, fortify, stimulate, rouse, soothe and enlighten”. (McGRATH, 2011) Art therapy, sometimes called creative art therapy or expressive art therapy, is a psychological method for healing physical, mental or emotional problems, diseases and disorder. (Art therapy, n.d.) The special of art therapy is it does not rely on verbal communication, so it is also suitable for people who have language disability or those are not adept at communicating with others.
There are different art materials used in art therapy for various clients, such as pencils, crayons, clay and fabrics. (Kayleigh & Melanie, 2013)