If we judge by the vast scientific and non scientific literature about the analysis of children’s drawings, it is safe to say that art therapists mainly use drawing analysis in their work with young children and their families. It is also safe to say that, in general, adolescents draw less than younger children. This is for various reasons which are not the subject of this article. Instead, we have a first glance at art therapy in the treatment of adolescents. Literature on that subject is scarce by any standards.
Three researchers based in Israel, Adi Barak, Nurit Wolk and Dani Yaniv, published just last April, the results of their qualitative study of adolescents drawing from observation. Titled Different shade of beauty: Adolescents’ perspectives on drawing from observation, the article was published on the Frontiers in Psychology‘s website. It includes some interesting illustrations and quotes from the participants. It provides practical comments directed at art therapists. The observations about aesthetic judgement and self-acceptance will not be lost on them. Drawing from observation, combined with practice in mindfulness and a shared sense of empathy and reality, seem to be an effective approach in art therapy.
Another article drew our attention. It has however no illustrations and is quantitative in its approach. Prepared by Katherine Bottinelli, Cecilia Cheung and Yena Kyeong, the article is available on the ResearchGate website: Adolescents’ drawings and divergent thinking – Does culture matter? Here is no place to dive into what divergent thinking is, but you might find interesting that this study compares American and Chinese adolescents.