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Professor Linda J. Kelemen Publishes Article on Art Therapy and Teenage Mental Health

Linda J. Kelemen, adjunct professor at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, published "Art Therapy Open Studio and Teen Identity Development: Helping Adolescents Recover from Mental Health Conditions" in Children, a journal of pediatrics that focuses on the dissemination of clinical, epidemiological and translational science relevant to children's health.

The abstract of the paper is below:

Adolescent identity development is driven to a significant degree by peer interaction. However, when mental health conditions (MHC) or other crises separate teens from their peers, their identity development can be slowed or arrested. We developed a unique open studio intervention (OS-ID) that could facilitate identity development in teens recovering from MHC, and incorporated this intervention into a therapeutic day school catering to our target population. We utilized qualitative case study research to explore these students’ experiences. Over the 10-month period of our intervention, we saw positive changes in the participants’ identity development. Key elements in OS-ID include the therapists’ commitment to supported autonomy; the absence of participatory demands; the emphasis on creative process over product; the use of setting and materials to promote the healing process; the facilitators’ and participants’ witnessing the process; the privatization and protection of the participants’ creations; and the ubiquitous presence of non-threatening significant others. This OS-ID modality could be an effective mechanism for assisting socially isolated teens to manage their social anxiety, develop their identity, and transition back into their peer environments.

To read the full paper, click here.

Linda J. Kelemen is a Ph.D. candidate and adjunct professor at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University. She holds a MAAT from Haifa University in Israel and an MSW from Wurzweiler School of Social Work.