Your gift will be doubled when you support youth like Reem

Learn more

The Transformative Power of Art Therapy 

Art is powerful. Beyond being a creative form of expression, it has the ability to be a powerful and therapeutic outlet. At Covenant House Vancouver, art can be used to help youth work through, and overcome, their trauma. 

What is art therapy?  
Art therapy combines the creative process (through mediums like drawing, painting, collage, colouring, and sculpting) with psychotherapy. Art therapy helps facilitate self-exploration and understanding, and is a way to express thoughts and feelings that otherwise could be difficult for an individual to articulate. 

Art therapy can take many forms, and at CHV, we offer three ways that youth can become engaged with art: 

  • Open studios—creativity knows no bounds and in our open studios, youth are invited to enjoy the process of creating art for its own sake, while making connections with peers and mentors. 
  • Group art therapy—in these intimate gatherings, youth are able to collaborate and find solidarity, while exploring set topics, like healthy relationships. 
  • One-on-one art therapy—youth work directly with a CHV art therapist, in a safe setting, to address trauma and mental health issues, using art as a medium of both creativity and healing. 

Regardless of the format, our art therapists practice radical hospitality — a thoughtful approach to welcoming youth by creating an inviting and comforting space. Youth are free to pop in and out during open studios and stay for a few minutes, or the entire time, and are welcome to enjoy snacks, tea, and selective aromatherapy scents. 

Throughout the process, youth are supported in their art therapy journey that begins with the creation of a safe space where they can be vulnerable and lay the groundwork for trust. From there, youth explore possible narratives associated with their art before exploring the possible meanings behind their pieces — a time where youth often reflect and may find and define healing on their own terms. 

While art therapy is a powerful tool, it is only one aspect of growing, healing, and finding support for various mental health issues. Guided by a trauma-informed framework, our highly skilled art therapists offer a holistic approach to wellness that is grounded in compassion and empathy, and extends well beyond the borders of the canvas.