5 Art Therapy Ideas for Teen Self Esteem


When your teen is struggling with low self esteem, you want to help them see their innate gifts and value. They key to boosting teen self esteem is to help them feel good about themselves through positive connection. We want to help them connect to themselves while also helping them process negative self perceptions in constructive ways. Creative expression is a great way to foster this type of connection. Art therapy doesn’t have to be intimidating or a forced activity as it can be tailored to a teenager’s unique interests and needs. There are many ways to boost your teen’s self esteem through art therapy. Here are some art therapy ideas to increase self worth and emotional literacy in your troubled teen.


What Causes Low Self Esteem in Adolescence?

Low self esteem in adolescence can be the result of internal and external factors. While the external pressures to perform well academically may increase as a teen enters high school, some teens may also struggle with new responsibilities and expectations in the family as they get older. Many teens end up beating themselves up over rather insignificant mistakes. On the other hand, today’s adolescents are also combatting unrealistic life expectations from the media. The psychological damage that social media can cause is taking its toll particularly in young teen girls.

With all of these external distractions, it’s important to empower teens to reconnect with themselves, starting with where they’re at. Art therapy activities offer therapeutic benefits that put troubled teens back in touch with themselves, their dreams, and hope for their futures.

Mask Making

We all have to “wear different hats” in our lives based on the context we are in. Sometimes teens that suffer from low self esteem get so attached to one particular mask, they forget about other aspects of themselves. Have your teen create a papier-mache mask or even trace one on colorful construction paper. Let them choose a part of themselves that they like or others say they appreciate, then let them share about this part in whatever capacity they’re able.

Maybe your teen wants to do multiple different masks: the part of them that wants good friends, the part that is a child, a student, a good friend. Let this activity expound upon their favorite qualities about themselves.

Sculpture & Ceramics

Ceramics activities offer a unique creative process. The act of molding clay from a simple square to something they envision can boost confidence and imagination. For teenagers that are particularly kinesthetic (are lead primarily by sensory input), this activity can be particularly therapeutic.

Sculpture and ceramics are a great activity if your troubled teen has difficulty constructively coping with stress and external pressures.

Paint a Journal Entry

Maybe you know a teen who has difficulty expressing themselves verbally. Painting may be the perfect introductory activity to help them connect to their emotions. After they can see a physical representation of their process, journaling about the feeling behind the painting may be made easier. This is a great art therapy activity for teens who lack the confidence or skills to verbally express their feelings.

Collage Vision Board

When a young person enters adolescence, it’s important for them to be able to dream about their futures. Questions like:

  • What do I want to be when I grow up?
  • What are my interests?
  • What do I enjoy doing more than anything?
  • What are my strengths?

Are all important topics that many teens enjoy experimenting with throughout adolescence. Creating a vision board as a collage is a great way to get a teen with low self esteem to dream about their futures while helping them appreciate their likes, dislikes, and aspirations.

Art Therapy Programs

If your daughter is struggling with mental health issues like teen depression, anxiety, or eating disorders, consider getting the right help from our boarding school for girls. We offer our students state of the art studio facilities for our art therapy program.

You don’t have to be a perfect parent to deserve help. Sometimes situations require a greater level of care than is available at home, and that’s why we’re here. Give us a call today if you think your teenage daughter would benefit from a residential high school with an art therapy program. 1-877-788-8422