Art Therapy

Art Therapy for Prison Populations

  • Catharts and sublimates aggression and violence (see previous post here)
  • Promotes non-verbal communication, even while the inmate does not want to talk about his feelings and ideas which might leave him vulnerable. The environment is dangerous, and any unintended disclosure can be threatening.
  • Can bypass defenses, including dishonesty.
  • Provides necessary diversion and emotional escape.
  • Permits the inmate to express himself in a manner acceptable to both the prison and outside culture.
  • Reestablishes an identity above that of the inmate
  • Works despite organicity, a low educational level, illiteracy, and other obstacles to verbal communication and cognitive development (Gussak & Cohen-Liebman, 2001;Gussak & Virshup, 1997).

(Source: Psychology Today)

Art Therapy for Juvenile Offenders

This results of art therapy in the case of the Beaumont Juvenile Correctional Center in Virgina demonstrated a correlation b/w art therapy and (in order from most important to least

  • Stress relief and relaxation
  • Reduction of boredom
  • Pride
  • Pos Recognition
  • Working through frustration
  • fun
  • Concentration improvement
  • Improvement in the way they were treated

“Need themes” that were depicted through their art were (in order from most frequent to least)

  • identity issues
  • security and tranquility
  • freedom,adventure,fun
  • erotic and sexual needs
  • expression of depression
  • childhood trauma
  • other psychological problems
  • religious needs

If we can conclude that graffiti can be a form of art therapy for prisoner populations → graffiti can be therapeutic and conducive for the prisoner’s space and psyche

Source: Persons, Ray W.


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