Rosecrance, one of the country's leading teen substance abuse treatment centers, has launched a traveling art exhibit to help parents understand teenagers' points of view about pressures they encounter and how they are faced with the potential to use, and abuse, substances. Developed by teen patients participating in an art therapy program at Rosecrance's adolescent campus in Rockford, IL, "In My Shoes" encourages parents to understand their teen's point of view and actively parent to help teens navigate today's confusing environment.
"We believe this artwork display will be an impactful call to parents to do all they can to support their children and help prevent any level of substance use among their teen children," said Thomas Wright, MD, the Chief Medical Officer at Rosecrance. "Teenagers want their parents to actively parent and give them the guidance and support they need, and that includes how to navigate what is happening around substances today. Once parents learn more about what it is like to walk in a teen's shoes, we think they can have a more meaningful conversation."
The shoes featured in the exhibit were donated by Rosecrance staff, then painted white so each teen had a blank canvas to tell his or her story. Developing this artwork is part of Rosecrance's comprehensive art therapy program, which includes individuals and groups who create art as a tool of self-expression. It can help teens in treatment express feelings visually when they may not be able to share them verbally.
"From shoe selection to showcase, the process of creating shoe art is a meaningful experience for these teens in that each shoe is unique and visually tells the teen's story about addiction, recovery, and the teens' hopes and dreams for the future," said Jennifer Thammavong, art therapist at Rosecrance. "The shoes also symbolize the steps that these teens have taken to overcome substance use and move forward with living happy and healthy lives."
The exhibit, which contains more than a dozen unique shoes, is traveling to cities throughout the Midwest and also offers information for parents to take.