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MHC’s art therapy program

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Randy Metcalf/The Explorer

Danielle Moss describes one of the student's projects from her art therapy class at the Marana Health Center.

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It’s literally a colorful scene in the Marana Health Center’s art therapy room.

Creations of all kinds – paintings, three-dimensional posters, paper mache, and batik-dyed fabrics are just some of the award-winning creations made by the participants of the program.

Initiated about a year ago, the art therapy program, located at the Marana Health Center’s new Counseling and Wellness Center, is designed to give a creative outlet to adolescents facing depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, family crisis, and other issues. 

“Many of these kids have faced a lot of trauma,” said Art Therapist Danielle Moss, who runs the program. “Physical, emotional, and sexual. This gives them a chance to express themselves on their terms in an open studio format. I provide the rich soil, but you can’t force the seed to grow. I am creating a space in which they can find their own selves, their own voice.”

Moss, who has a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy, has been practicing the profession in some form for about nine years, and enjoys seeing the results from the unique method of emotional recovery.

“It’s evident just how valuable this is,” she said. “This taps into their body and minds. It creates more self-awareness, increased social skills and self-esteem, and it empowers them. It makes them realize they are worth something. It’s about treating the whole being. It’s not just a band-aid program.”

But while the positive effects of expression and positive teamwork are evident, Moss said the program, which is voluntary, isn’t necessarily the solution for everyone, as some shy away from the creative process and prefer other methods of treatment. 

Some, on the other hand, can’t get enough of it.

“Sometimes the kids don’t want to leave when the group is over,” she said. “They don’t want to leave, because they have to go back to whatever their world is, so for some it’s a form of refuge.”

In many instances, the artwork created has served as a point of truth and reflection.

“There have been some students who will look at their old work and suddenly realize how it related to their life at that point,” said Moss. “The art never lies.”

The members of the art therapy group recently competed in Community Mental Health Arts Show, a large number of their projects placing in the contest. 

The art therapy group is made up of about 20 students aged about seven to 17, though the reach extends beyond just that age group.

“Regarding individual therapy or family therapy, art therapy is available to any child or family who will benefit from the modality,” said Moss.

Supplies are desperately needed for the art therapy program. Tools, fabrics, dyes, a sewing machine, and a laptop are some of the most desired items.

To donate, contact Mary Carter at 520-616-1425 or mcarter@maranahealthcenter.org.

For those searching for therapy techniques other than the art therapy program, the Marana Health Center’s Counseling and Wellness Center offers a number of different options.

About 250 youths participate in the various therapy programs at the Marana Health Center. For more information on those programs, visit maranahealthcenter.org

4 images

Randy Metcalf/The Explorer

Danielle Moss describes one of the student's projects from her art therapy class at the Marana Health Center.

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