Mindful & Expressive: A Family Art Therapy Program

[Editor’s note: this is a prototype website for a Group Project in the Summer 2020 class AMA 240: Managing the Creative Process. The content should not be considered as a substitute for professional therapeutic or medical advice.]

Where do you turn when your family starts to lose trust in each other?

Resolving dishonesty
through art therapy

dis·hon·es·ty /disˈänəstē/ noun.
1: lack of honesty or integrity : disposition to defraud or deceive
2: a dishonest act : fraud


Are you a teenager or a parent of a teen? Where do you turn when you aren’t sure how to resolve a conflict?

How might you dispel dishonesty or loss of trust within your household? Would working on an arts-based project help?

You might be surprised! But first, it’s important to say this up front:

You are NOT alone!

Examples of dishonesty in families with teenage children include instances of lying, cheating, deliberately withholding information, misrepresentation, and tacit dishonesty (letting another person assume an untruth without correcting them). When dishonesty happens between parents and teenagers, many U.S. families do not know how to respond or where to find resources, given the frequent lack of access to affordable or easily navigable mental healthcare system and psychological/family therapy.

However, as art therapist Mindi Moore found in a 2005 study of family art therapy, “The ability to access creativity during family crisis stimulates an innate means of managing difficulty and the ability to find solutions becomes heightened.”

The “Mindful & Expressive” program is a three-week, arts-based family therapy program that provides resources to families to engage in two arts projects, centered around easily managed programs and open conversations that aim to reduce judgement and barriers to inter-personal communication.

“Adolescence is a time to navigate self-identity and peer pressure from every angle, but what causes some teens to thrive while others struggle with anxiety and depression?”

-Dr. Tambetta Ojong, 2018
(ABC News)

See our Guidelines for Safe, Productive Conversations for tips on improving family communication. Our team encourages every participating family member to read this page—bookmark and share it with everyone!


Our program suggests that families do two activities per week for three weeks, with flexibility in choosing the activities and the order in which they are done. We have tried to provide options for arts-based activities inside and outside of the home, though we recognize that the Covid-19 pandemic may limit options in 2020!

Instructions, materials needed, suggested locations (where applicable), and guiding questions are included on each individual activity page.

Further Information

Importance of Family for Teens’ Mental Health | Art Therapy Blogs | Psychology Today

Mindful & Expressive staff

Disclaimer: while our team has put substantial planning and thought into this program, we are students—not professional therapists. In the event of a family crisis, please see the resources provided, including a search engine to find therapist options (including teletherapy) near you, at GoodTherapy.org or Psychology Today.

Geographic Musings

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