Art Therapy in High School



This project is a requirement of the GOA Abnormal Psychology Course. Using the process of design thinking, a challenge in the world of mental health was identified, interviews and research were undertaken, and a solution prototype was developed. Below you will find information about the identified area of concern and my proposed solution. Please feel free to provide feedback on this prototype, using questions such as “How might we…”, “What if….?”, “I wonder….”, “I like…”, and “I wish.” Keep the comments positive, please. For more information on the process of Design Thinking, click here.


I’ve always been interested in how the mind functions. When my school began offering Global Online Academy classes, Abnormal Psychology was an obvious choice for me. My favorite unit from this term was Unit 3 where we explored stress, anxiety, and major depression. Personally, I’ve suffered from stress and moderate anxiety all of my life. School is one of the most common triggers for stress among teenagers, and I personally feel like every action my school makes towards decreasing stress is reactive instead of proactive. After researching more about stress among teenagers specifically, I began to wonder how schools could change their perspective on stress. I chose to focus on art therapy as a proactive method because I know many people, myself included, who find doodling relaxing. Whether it be in one of the adult relaxation coloring books which have recently become really popular or on the corners of my note book, I doodle to relieve stress. 



Here are two examples of my own doodles.





Think about this: How often did you do arts and crafts in lower school? Middle school? High school? The use of art in the classroom dramatically decreases once we reach high school. Why? I can’t tell you! I literally do not know the answer, and it seems like no one else knows either. There are millions of articles about the psychological benefits of art in elementary school classrooms, but its radio silent when you try to find information on crafts in high school.

Stress among high schoolers is no new subject. A study in 2014 showed that 52% of teenagers consistently rate their stress a 6 out of 10 during the school year (2). Students can feel exhausted and overwhelmed by school which could lead to decreased appetite, exercise, and sleep. Essentially, teenagers are experiencing a fatal snowball effect, but how do we stop it?


I also wanted to ask the students of my school about stress and doodles to get a clearer perspective on Louisville Collegiate School’s experience with stress and doodling.


I conducted an art therapy exercise on real high schoolers to see how they would react to an art therapy session so I could get their opinions on if they believe art could be helpful in classrooms. I wanted to do this exercise because most high schoolers have not explicitly participated in art therapy, so before asking them if they think art therapy in class would be helpful, I thought they should have a little preview of what it is like to get an insight into your mind through art. 


My next steps in this process will be sharing and presenting my presentation to the Head of the Upper School at Louisville Collegiate School. His optimism towards helping our school led me to believe that he is the best person to present my ideas to to catalyze a change within my school. While I may not be able to speak to every teacher in the world about the benefits of arts and crafts, I encourage you to ask your teachers to try at least one class with art and see the benefits for themselves. I also wanted to include a quiz I made about what type of art therapy you could use on your own to help relax.

Below, I’ve created a survey for feedback, questions, etc. about my project. I encourage you to use GOA’s Design Thinking method of beginning your feedback with “What if…? How might we….? and I wonder….” Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated.


1 Photo:



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  1. April 27, 2017 by Jas

    Wonderful job on your presentation and research! I like that you’re really passionate about this unique topic and it’s very cool that you’re making real change in your community.

    • April 28, 2017 by Hallie W

      Thank you!!

  2. April 28, 2017 by Ella H

    Hey- This project is super cool. I really enjoy the topic, I draw on all my papers. It probably annoys my teachers so much, doodles everywhere, but I’m glad to know there’s kids just like me 🙂 Furthermore, I loved the quiz!! I think it’s so cool that each person could find a different type of art that can help de-stress them. I definitely will take mine (painting) into consideration and maybe even start painting more! 🙂

    • April 28, 2017 by Hallie W

      Thanks!! Yeah I’m the exact same way. I’m glad you enjoyed it!!

  3. April 28, 2017 by Caitlyn

    Hi- I loved your project! I used to participate in art therapy and it was such a cool experience. It was a great way to express how I felt when I couldn’t put it into words. All students at my school are required to take an art class, and most students find it as a relaxing period that helps with the stress brought on by school. I really hope you are able to implement your project into your school because I think a lot of kids could really benefit from it!

    • April 28, 2017 by Hallie W

      Thank you!! I think a required art class is such a good idea, but my school takes it pretty seriously so unfortunately the class is stressful itself. Thanks for the comment!

  4. April 29, 2017 by Shreyas Gupta

    Hi! I find your topic really interesting. I personally often find myself doodling in class while stressed or distracted but never really thinking about the meaning behind what is being put on the paper. But not just your topic but I find the layout of your site to be really engaging! It is captivating through its use of colors and simple flow charts but also informative through your use of videos. Awesome job!

  5. April 30, 2017 by Bingpu Z

    I really like your page! I think it is interesting how art therapy sessions can help us relax more than I had anticipated. I knew that yoga and meditation helps with relaxing. But doing art therapy is something that is quick and accessible! I love your youtube videos and are planning to use them in the future for me to relax. I think your page is super engaging and relatable and this is my favorite page. Good job!

  6. April 30, 2017 by Claire N

    I really like this page! I thought the second video was very interesting!

  7. April 30, 2017 by Zoe Levy

    I very much enjoyed your page! Thanks for introducing more information to me on this topic. I think art is super important in school!

  8. April 30, 2017 by Kristin L

    This is amazing and I think this is so interesting! My school’s library just began putting coloring book pages and colored pencils on the tables and students are allowed to use them at any time. It’s part of a de-stress initiative, especially for the kids at my school who just hole up in the library during any free time they have. It’s soothing and makes the library a little more chill. It’s also cool and promotes school unity since some of the pages are complex and multiple kids will work on the same page in different sessions. Just an idea, but you should talk to your librarians about this! I go to the Harker School in San Jose, CA by the way. :))

  9. April 30, 2017 by David Long

    Hi Hallie,

    Thanks for sharing your insights on doodling and its benefit for students. I look forward to meeting with you to discuss your ideas!

  10. May 01, 2017 by Masayuki N

    Great project! I am currently taking Drawing and Painting as a senior, and I love the class. It truly helps me destress from the rest of my schoolwork.

  11. May 05, 2017 by Kathryn D

    Hi, Hallie! I love this idea! Great research and presentation. There was another project that I looked at that also incorporated art into mental wellness, and I love the videos you included! Very informative and interesting.

  12. May 09, 2017 by Kay

    I love how in depth your surveys are and how clear the charts/results are!

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