• ADHD books published by NorthEast Books & Publishing, by Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology
  • ADHD books published by NorthEast Books & Publishing, by Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology


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Please send any suggestions and comments here. The Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology is a non-profit New Jersey corporation and operates as a federal 501(c)3.

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Book covers in this column are Amazon-linked (off-site). The small percentage of revenues that it gains through purchase of books from Amazon.com or any other source helps to support the not for profit activities of AYCNP. Unless otherwise stated, all text links are to on-site AYCNP pages.

Overcoming ADHD Without Medication: A Parent and Educator's Guidebook, by the AYCNP

How to overcome ADHD without medication. This 128 page book gives practical ideas on how parents and educators can help children to overcome symptoms associated with ADHD, without a prescription.

Drawing Together to Manage Anger, by Marge Eaton Heegaard

Art is a wonderful therapy for anxiety. This book explains how art can help men and women (children and teens as well) to control anger.

Art Therapy Sourcebook, by Cathy Malchiodi

Art therapy is a non-alternative, board certified occupation by licensed therapists. This is one good resource.

Art Therapy Exercises: Inspirational and Practical Ideas to Stimulate the Imagination, by Liesl Silverstone, Brian Thorne

A collection of 80 tried-and-tested exercises, with guidelines for applying them and advice for devising new ones. "Art Therapy Exercises" is an invaluable book for art therapists and art therapy students, counsellors, psychotherapists and all professionals working in the field of human development.

Painting Today, by Tony Godfrey

Good art lessons book.

Handbook of Art Therapy, by Cathy A. Malchiodi PhD ATR-BC LPCC, Cathy Malchiodi

For those who are serious about art therapy.

Art Heals: How Creativity Cures the Soul, by Shaun McNiff

"Reading Art Heals is like attending a retrospective exhibition of a master artist, with its careful selection, critique, and contemplation of McNiff's original ideas and guiding images. In refining and reimagining these ideas in the context of today, McNiff brings a fresh vision to his work and offers a valuable answer to the increasingly incoherent fragmentation of mental health care."—Lynn Kapitan, Ph.D., ATR-BC, Associate Professor of Graduate Art Therapy of Mount Mary College and author of Re-enchanting Art Therapy

Please Don't Label My Child: Break the Doctor-Diagnosis-Drug Cycle and Discover Safe, Effective Choices for Your Child's Emotional Health, by Scott M. Shannon, Emily Heckman

This is a great reference from a noted child psychiatrist with much insight into children's mental health issues. He writes against the label and medicate approach that is common today. Instead, Dr. Shannon encourages searching for practical solutions.

Natural Prozac, by Joel Robertson

The methods in Natural Prozac are effective for depression.

Art and Healing: Using Expressive Art to Heal Your Body, Mind, and Spirit, by Barbara Ganim

Art Therapy as self-help.

Filled with actual stories from those who have triumphed over adversity and with more than a hundred different pieces of artwork created using this groundbreaking method, Art and Healing is sure to provide the tools needed for healing body and spirit.

Color Me Mindful, by Anastasia Catris. (2015)

Color Me Mindful is a coloring book for teens or adults. If you say you don't have the ability, this will lead you along the way. Guess what? Adults love to color too! This series will bring out the artist in anyone. Get lost in the mindful moment with art.

Color Me Mindful: Tropical

Color Me Mindful: Birds

Colour Me Mindful: Seasons

Photo credits:
Artist - Image: Maggie Smith / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Page updated: January 6, 2016

Professional Art Therapy and Art as Self-Help

Help for bipolar disorder, anxiety and anxiety disorders, depression,
ADHD, other and mental health disorders.

This page has been reviewed and edited by a licensed art therapist.

Art and art therapy can be effective therapy for persons suffering with symptoms of ADHD. In fact, for ADHD, it might be one of the most single most effective therapies to  help children and adults to concentrate, slow down, and stabilize.

Art is an good self-help skill to develop. It contributes to inner peace and can be a creative expression for positive emotions.

The same can be said for bipolar disorder and OCD. Persons suffering with anorexia and  bulimia should similarly consider taking up art as a mood stabilizer.

Art slows down the mind. It can give a person an emotional outlet, while helping build self-esteem. It can stabilize erratic moods, while assisting children and adults find the time for their minds to slow down and heal. Children and teens (adults as well) who have been victims of child abuse should take up art as part of a healing therapy.

Psychologist and theorist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi wrote extensively about “flow,”which he describes as “a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove. The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing. This is a feeling everyone has at times, characterized by a feeling of great freedom, enjoyment, fulfillment, and skill—and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored.”

The artist can experience that state of flow when absorbed in drawing or painting. This can be true for children and teens, as well as for victims of child abuse or children who are emotionally disturbed or experience intrusive thoughts.

Therefore, art as self-help therapy, or as something to be encouraged by parents, educators, and caregivers for children who have mental health disorders or who are emotionally disturbed is of much value. Psychological Disorders, Self-help and Arts Therapy

Arts Therapy and Specific Mental Health Issues

Creating art or utilizing arts therapy can be more effective than medications with such disorders as:

  • ADHD – Helping children with ADHD to concentrate
  • OCD – Assisting persons with OCD towards balance
  • Bipolar Disorder Helping adults, teens, and children to balance mood swings
  • Depression Helping a person suffering from depression to get away from depressing news or negative programming on television.
  • Schizophrenia It can also be part of an effective plan for those with schizophrenia as it calms erratic thoughts.
  • Autism One art teacher in Paterson, NJ, feels that teaching autistic children and teens art in his summer programs has helped them develop the ability to focus. One of his students went on to hold a full-time job. Art was part of the therapies that was of help to some of the children.
  • Addictions – Alcohol and drug-dependent clients can benefit from art therapy, as can those addicted to pornography, creative art engages the eye positively, and can contribute to better focus and self-control. If a person drinks or looks at pornography out of boredom, art as a hobby can fill vacant hours productively, when, perhaps, it might be difficult to focus on reading, for example, when at home.

Arts therapy for anxiety and anxiety disorders. One of several natural remedies for ADHD.
Art as self-help: Natural remedies for ADHD include creating art. Art therapy works for anxiety self-help treatment. Creating artworks as a new skill developed at 50 years old helped Cecelia Carvalho overcome overwhelming anxieties. Painting: Dancing Flowers in Rio, Cecilia Carvalho.

Art and Positive Psychology, Prevention

The creation of art by an individual can help improve self-esteem because it gives tangible proof of one's ability to create. Additionally, art helps children, teens, and adults get away from the overstimulation of television, movies and video games, and create their own little peaceful and creative space. For all of the above reasons, art has an important role to play in 21st Century psychology.

Art is a natural and effective therapy for ADHD. It contributes to self-control, often lacking for those who are diagnosed with ADHD, and it calms the mind.

See ADDA.org article by Daniella Barroqueiro, Ed.D, professor of art education, Illinois State University.

Art Therapy and Self-Help

In addition to self-help, art is used as therapy in a professional setting. Art therapy is a true branch of psychology with its own licensing credentials, associations, and Masters programs in major universities. Art therapists are board-certified.

Arts therapy. Natural remedies, anxiety treatment. Arts and ADHD treatment without drugs.
Summer Glory

Where do art therapists work?

  • public or private schools
  • clinics
  • universities
  • institutions
  • private practice
  • hospitals
  • community agencies

From School Art Therapy, Janet Bush (see link below).

Art Therapy Associations Explain Art Therapy

The New Jersey Art Therapy Association describes art therapy as being the therapeutic use of art-making within a professional relationship by people who experience illness, trauma, or challenges in living, and by people who seek personal development.

Through creating art and reflecting on the art products and processes, people can increase awareness of self and others, cope with symptoms, stress, and traumatic experiences, enhance cognitive abilities, reduce anxiety, improve social skills, aid reality orientation, increase self-esteem, and enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of making art.

The American Art Therapy Association states that art therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art-making to improve and enhance the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight.

Art therapy is being used in hospital settings by psychologists and therapists, and in schools, both public and specialized.

Why is art therapy used in schools?

When emotional issues distract a student, learning disabilities, speech or language disorders, behavioral disorders or illness, even a well-trained, experienced teacher may be unable to get beyond these barriers to each effectively.

As one professional on a student services team, the school art therapist is not only trained to recognize these barriers, but to diagnose problems and provide individualized interventions and services to help the student focus on learning.

Art therapy provides a visual and verbal approach to accessing and addressing student needs. As a natural mode of communication for children, it is a means of externalizing the complexities of emotional pain. Children rarely resist the art-making process because it offers ways to express themselves that are less threatening than strictly verbal means.

Which students should receive art therapy services?

Art therapy is valuable for all students, but especially for those experiencing difficulty at school because of personal crises, disabilities, and behavior. Such students may be in regular education, special education, and alternative education programs (from: Janet Bush, Ed.S., ATR-BC. Founding member of the Florida Arts Therapy Association).

Both art as therapeutic self-help or parent-directed and art therapy itself can be valuable contributions to the mental health profile of millions of children, teens, and adults suffering from symptoms of ADHD, bipolar disorder, OCD, schizophrenia, autism, and addictions. For many whose disorders may or not be severe, it can negate the need for medication.

Public schools should consider using art therapy as a standard form of treatment for students with mental health difficulties.

School & Art Therapy, Janet Bush (off-site link)

Arts therapy: Anxiety disorders natural remedies. Art from RioDeJaneiro, Brazil.
Cecelia Carvalho of Volta Redonda, Brazil, created the art on this page. She took up art 2007 in response to her doctor's suggestion to use art as therapy for anxieties in lieu of medication. Art as a self-help therapy or in conjunction with professional therapy is a valuable tool and life skill. Painting: Brazilian Village

Art therapy and mood: Positive Art Therapy is more effective than venting

There are a number of ways of using art therapy. One is by using it as a way of "venting" negative emotions. Supposedly, this will help air out negative feelings, and get them out of the subconscious. This can have a positive effect for some.

Another way is by drawing or painting something that expresses happiness or positive emotions—contrary to real feelings. This also can be of value in helping create a positive mood.

Of the two, which is more effective? A study conducted at Boston College, concluded that artwork created expressing positive emotions was of more positive value to emotions than that expressed through "venting".

The study was conducted by inducing a negative mood in participants through watching a serious film that left participants in a negative frame of mind (even though there was, what one could say, a happy ending). The results of the study also leads us to a valid point: certain films and the type of films, and by extension, television programs, can indeed affect mood.

The positive artwork produced a happy mood, contrary to actual feelings. This is important to note for those who use art as a form of self-help; that it can, in fact, help one with depression. If a positive mood is elicited with enough frequency, this can create positive thought patterns, which can lead to some significant relief of depression.

Short-term mood repair through art-making: Positive emotion is more effective than venting (2008), Anne Dalebroux, Thalia R. Goldstein, Ellen Winner

Arts Therapy Page Links

Art Therapist
Janet Long, M.A., LMFT, ATR-BC, CTP
Oakland Hills, CA
Janet Long (off-site link)

The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) (off-site link) is an organization of professionals dedicated to the belief that the creative process involved in art-making is healing and life-enhancing. Its mission is to serve its members and the general public by providing standards of professional competence, and developing and promoting knowledge in, and of, the field of art therapy. The AATA represents approximately 5000 members and 36 AATA State and Regional Chapters that conduct meetings and activities to promote art therapy on the local level.

See also Art Therapy Credentials Board
(off-site link)

Arts in Health and Care (off-site link)

Arts in Therapy Network
(off-site link)

Arts in Psychotherapy magazine

National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Associations

New Jersey Art Therapy Association
(off-site link)

NYU Art therapy page
(off-site link)

Best Site on learning to draw simple portraits see:
Drawing the Portrait (off-site link)

Art Therapy page credits: Roberta Shoemaker-Beal, MFA, ATR-BC, is an adjunct professor of art therapy at St. Mary's of the Woods College, near Terre Haute, Indiana, who reviewed and contributed to the production of this page.

Pages Related to Art and Art Therapy

What Causes Depression - Depression Help and Solutions

ADHD Natural Cures - Art for ADHD

Children and Art - Ideas to help your child involved with art

El Arte Ayuda al TDAH - Spanish