Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Creative Arts


Art Education

Committee Chair

Terese Giobbia

Committee Co-Chair

Dylan Collins

Committee Member

Terese Giobbia

Committee Member

Alexandra Hollo


The purpose of this paper was to inform the reader of the benefits of using art therapy activities in art lessons as a way to help students' process emotional and behavioral issues. New and future art educators are not equipped to handle the wide range of issues that students face everyday. This is especially true for the students in the West Virginia public school system. As in larger, more urban locations, many students here deal with drugs, violence, bullying, abuse, and others contemporary social stressors. In this paper, I utilized my own personal experiences, literary research, experimentation, and observations of others art therapy activities to discuss ways in which these art therapy activities could be used within art lessons, specifically in the K-12 classroom. The lessons I formulated used three specific activities: HTP (house, tree, and person), color therapy, and action painting. My lessons were a combination of art making, art history, and art therapy. These lessons may be important for future art educators to use when gaining insight into their students lives and personalities.;My own lived experiences while working with clients at a health facility in urban West Virginian, coupled with art therapy courses I took during my graduate studies, led me to research what art therapy activities I could incorporate into my future art classroom. During my last year of my graduate studies I was able to conduct lessons using the activities, I learned during my art therapy courses. I also was able to observe counselors, social workers, practicing art teachers and art therapy professionals using the art therapy activities and other creative therapies during sessions. For my research I covered specifically the 3 approaches of art therapy: HTP, Action Painting, and Color Therapy. I briefly identified how art therapy could help students in different stages of their lives,--how it affects their minds, helps them form alliances, and the teacher knowledge gained? When dealing with special populations. I was able to incorporate some of these activities into my lesson plans. Throughout this paper, I reflected on how these activities could potentially help students cope with stress and trauma.;Within each lesson, I also suggest solutions and further research on how to use art therapy in the public schools to help students. While more research is needed to prove that art therapy activities in art education lessons can benefit students with emotional and behavioral issues, I found through my own lived experiences that students were able to feel safe and comfortable during these art-making processes to communicate their problems to the teacher in order to start the healing process.