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Art Therapy: What Makes it Useful

Faculty Supervisor:
Paul Lewis
Year of Project Completion:
Jordyn Blanson


Art therapy in recent years has been found to be quite effective, but much empirical research is still needed to figure out why it is effective. This study will examine the effects of art therapy and its ability to elevate mood in the short term. A sample of 58 students, 14 male and 44 female, was drawn from Bethel College's general student population and students enrolled in Psychology courses. Participants were randomly assigned to one of 3 conditions: positive writing task, negative writing task, or neutral writing task. After the task, participants completed an art therapy implementation. Before and after the writing task and following the art therapy task participants were given the PANAS to assess mood. Results found that the art therapy exercise was effective at reducing negative affect. Keywords: art therapy, mood, negative affect, positive affect.

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.