Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Elizabeth Kellogg


This capstone thesis examines existing literature on art therapy, horticultural therapies, and positive youth development, as they specifically meet the emotional needs of at-risk adolescences. The following paper provides an overview of the adolescent stage of development and how early attachment styles and environmental risk factors contribute to youth being labeled as at risk. At risk adolescents are more likely to have missed out on early attachments that are necessary to experience empathetic attunement, which should serve as the foundation of relationships throughout their life. The multiple environmental risk factors contribute to a sense of lack of control over their lives and a scarcity of positive community interactions. Art therapy as a creative means of expression is especially equipped to meet the needs of adolescents and can directly provide the opportunity for a corrective experience. The benefits of interaction with nature have been found to be extremely therapeutic for multiple populations, however at risk youth from urban environments have limited access to nature and its benefits. By integrating art therapy practices into community gardening with a positive strength based approach, a therapeutic program can be developed to meet the specific needs of at risk adolescents by facilitating empathetic connections, a positive community experience, self expression, and a sense of control.

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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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