• ADHD books published by NorthEast Books & Publishing, by Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology
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Book covers in this column are Amazon-linked (off-site).

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.

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

Page updated: April 4, 2015

Professional Art Therapy and Art as Self Help

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

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

Art and arts therapy, can be an 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. Person's 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. It can help to build self-esteem. It can stabilize erratic moods. It also helps children and adults to get 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 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 being 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 a 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

Art can be more effective than  medications with such disorders as...

  • ADHD – Helping children with ADHD to concentrate
  • OCD – Assisting persons with OCD to balance
  • Bipolar Disorder Helping adults, teens  and  children to balance mood swings of bipolar disorder.
  • Depression Help 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.
  • Autism One art teacher in Paterson N.J. feels that teaching autistic children and teens art in his summer programs has helped them to develop the ability to focus. One of his students went on to hold a full-time job. Art was part of the therapy that was of help to some of these autistic children.
  • Addictions – Alcohol and drug addicted clients can benefit from art therapy, as can those addicted to pornography, for whom art therapy can be an essential element in recovery.

Arts therapy for anxiety and anxiety disorders. One of several natural remedies for ADHD.
Natural remedies for ADHD. Arts therapy works for anxiety treatment. Painting: Dancing Flowers in Rio, Cecilia Carvalho.

Art and Positive Psychology, Prevention

The creation of art by the individual can help to improve self esteem, because it gives tangible proof of one's ability to create and worth as a person. Additionally,  art helps children, teens and adults, to get away from the overstimulation of  television, movies and video games, and to create their own little peaceful and  creative space.

Art  has an important role to play in 21st Century psychology.

Art is a natural and effective therapy for ADHD.

See ADDA org  article  By Daniella Barroqueiro, Ed.D,  Professor of Art Education, Illinois State University. Arts Therapy and Self Help

In  addition to self help, art is used in a professional setting as a therapy. 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 school 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

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 has been used in hospital settings by psychologists and therapists, and in  schools, both public and specialized.

Why is art therapy used in schools?

When  a student is distracted by emotional issues, 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 a student’s  learning.

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.

What  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 parental-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.
Brazilian Village

The art on this page was created by Cecelia Carvalho of Volta Redonda Brasil. She took up art only a year and a half ago (2007), in response to guidance from her doctor who suggested art as a therapy for her intense anxieties. This proved to be of value to her in coping with her anxieties and that without medicine. Art as a self help therapy or in conjunction with professional therapy is a valuable tool and life skill.

Art therapy and mood: Positive Art Therapy 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 to vent negative feelings, and get them out of our subconscious. This can have a positive effect for some.

Another way is by drawing or painting, instead, something expressing happy or positive emotions. This also can be of value in helping to 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, by participants watching a film which was serious and left participants in a negative frame of mind, even though there was, what one could say, a happy ending, in this case, a rescue.

From this end of the study, we can learn, (not the point of the study, but it is a valid sidepoint), that films, and the type of films, and by extension, television, we watch, can indeed effect our mood.

The positive artwork produced an opposite mood, that is a happy mood. This is something to note for both those who use art as a form of self help, something to be encouraged, that it can, in fact, help one with depression, to find some change to a positive mood. If a positive mood is elicited with enough frequency, it can create positive thought patterns, and this 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) 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.

AATA website:

See also Art Therapy Credentials Board:
www.atcb.org Off-site link

Best Site on learning to draw simple portraits see:
http://www.portrait-artist.org/face/index.html Off-site link

Arts in Health and Care:
http://arttherapy.wordpress.com/ Off-site link

Arts in Therapy Network:
http://www.artsintherapy.com/ Off-site link

Arts in Psychotherapy magazine:

National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Associations

New Jersey Art Therapy Association
http://www.njarttherapy.org/ Off-site link

NYU Arts Therapy page
Off-site link

Arts 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 Art Therapy page.

Pages Related to Art and Arts 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

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