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Success Story: Reluctant to Superhero

During James’ first few art therapy-based sessions with us, he seemed reluctant to participate. When we asked him to share or engage, he declined and responded with “I don’t know.” The projects did not seem to excite him much, and he rarely finished any of them. His drawings were small on the paper, leaving ample empty space around them. He refused to use permanent markers, and often erased his art and started over. During sessions, he rarely talked to his peers or volunteers and chose not to share his work during show and tell. After four weeks of attending drawchange, during a session focused on emotions, he expressed that he feels apathetic all of the time, and mentioned feeling disconnected from his emotions and body. He seemed sad and disengaged and would barely speak to volunteers or peers.

Superhero using avocados to help smaller people below him.
Drawing 6 weeks into drawchange. James depicts himself as a superhero with an elaborate backstory of himself using avocados to save the world.

After six weeks, something began to change in James. He became more engaged in the process. An older male volunteer began to encourage Aaron to express himself, and to create to his fullest potential. James started making jokes, connecting with volunteers, completing projects, participating in the Imagination Sessions, and sharing his artwork in show and tell for the first time. When we asked him to lead the Breathing Exercise and Imagination Session, he did so with eagerness, confidence, and creativity. While in the past he was disengaged and seemed uninterested, his adept ability to lead the session proved he was always paying attention and retaining the information. Additionally, he completed his first project using permanent markers and came up with an elaborate story to tell alongside it (see photo).

James’ drawing from a session about 6 weeks into drawchange. He drew himself as a superhero with an elaborate backstory and ample creativity.

James made a 180 and now demonstrates enthusiasm and confidence that we did not see before. This is one of the many ways we encourage healing through art. We look forward to watching him continue to grow and show more of his true self.

You can ensure more Success Stories like James’ by donating today to our Annual Fundraiser!

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Sabrina McCoy
Sabrina McCoy
Jun 28, 2023

Wow, this story is awesome! What was the prompt for this session where James drew the superhero? I wonder if there was something said during that session that inspired James.

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