Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Elizabeth Kellogg


The integration of positive art therapy into urban school systems holds great promise in increasing the general well-being of adolescents at a systemic level. Urban school systems tend to have a diverse ethnic population as well as students of low socioeconomic status. Adolescents in urban schools often face difficulties that stretch beyond academics such as poverty and racism. It is argued that there should be a method developed to diminish the growing rate of mental health issues within this demographic. Treating symptoms of mental health difficulties is important but looking at what makes people happy should not be ignored. What well-being is and how it is achieved is a growing concept that must be explored in the school setting for the success of students. Well-being is difficult to define because it can vary greatly between individuals and cultures. This paper explores the literature regarding the concept of well-being as it pertains to adolescents, the urban school setting, and art therapy. Martin Seligman’s definition of well-being is used to relate the well-being of urban students to the benefits of positive art therapy. Studies that focus on aspects of Seligman’s definition of well-being using art therapy in urban schools are provided as reference. The intersection of positive art therapy and well-being is discussed to understand how it may be useful in urban school settings, its limitations, and recommendations for the future integration of positive art therapy into urban school settings.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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