#1802 Art Therapy with Students At Risk: Fostering Resilience and Growth Through Self-Expression (2017). Stella A. Stephany. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, LTD., 309pp. $25.ISBN 978-0-398-09161-3,LCrecord,https://lccn.loc.gov/2017004397

Review by: Juanita Pipkin

APEX Scholars

Wayne State University



 Academic advisors success with at risk students may require a different approach to create pathways for the student’s individual success and growth. Art Therapy with Students At Risk: Fostering Resilience and Growth Through Self Expression, third edition (ATWSAR) introduces Art Therapy as one pathway for at risk students to engage in and integrate into the academic environment. The authors use the definition for “at risk” identified by Carole Fuller and David Sabatino (1996), “at risk students are defined as those displaying academic, behavioral and social problems (47-48). The book provides evidence that an engaging art therapy program can shape a students at risk behaviors into something positive. Student access to positive interventions can encourage resilience; enable them to speak about issues of concern (in a nontraditional way) and to offset barriers that may impede their success. The authors discuss pilot programs that have demonstrated success in K-12 education.

 This book is not a workbook but more of a technical primer or textbook that details the psychological theories associated with adolescent development. It describes the need for clinicians to develop multicultural and diversity competence. This competence is necessary to “respect the unique cultural identities of clients and to have an appropriate space for treatment.”  (Stepney 118).

A related book, Expressive Arts Intervention for School Counselors (EAISC), (Deggas-White&Colon 2014), provides user-friendly sample activities that can be integrated into a counseling or advising session with individuals, groups or in a classroom. Although, this title’s target audience is Counselors, exercises are transferrable for Academic Advisors to use with students. At- risk student’s behaviors are addressed in a manner with clearly stated objectives and outcomes. Academic advisors are required to record student contacts and incorporate interventions for student success. EAISC provides a template, which makes it easier to follow and incorporate into an existing advising program. In contrast, ATWSAR is more of a theoretical resource with limited examples of activities for use with students. Stepney resource does not provide relevant examples that an academic advisor can use with their clients. Overall, the advisor may find the discussion on multicultural and diversity competencies, as well as the historical data on at risk students, interesting.

Multidisciplinary cross campus collaborations can be an effective partnership for academic advisors to engage students and foster self-expression. Albeit this book provides good information on Art Therapy and its benefit in assisting at risk populations, it would be difficult for advisors to use this as a resource in the traditional way. I would recommend its use as a resource for a workshop led by a registered Art Therapist to inform and encourage at risk students to take advantage of these types of services if they exist on their campuses.


Degges-White, S. P. L. L. N., & Colon, B. R. M. L. N. (Eds.). (2014). <i>Expressive arts interventions for school counselors</i>. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.proxy.lib.wayne.edu

Stepney, SA (2017) Art Therapy with students at risk: Fostering resilience and growth through self-expression, Third edition, Springfield, Ill: Charles C. Thomas

Art Therapy with Students at Risk: Fostering Resilience and Growth through Self Expression, Third edition. (2017) Book by Stella Stepney, M.S., ATR-BC, LCAT. Review by Juanita Pipkin. Springfield, Ill: Charles C. Thomas.309pp., (Paperback). ISBN978-0-398-09161-3

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