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Empowerment and Recovery Through Creativity!

PSA Art Awakenings is a psycho social rehabilitation program for adults and art therapy program for youth who are challenged by serious behavioral health issues and mental illnesses. Studios throughout Arizona offer therapeutic programs and expressive arts therapy in a supportive setting to promote mental health, personal growth, vocational training, and physical wellness through the performing and visual arts. Old Bisbee, Downtown Phoenix, Casa Grande and Tucson Galleries, art exhibits, First Friday and First Saturday Art Walks and other venues offer artists opportunities to sell their paintings, sculptures, mosaics, jewelry, fine art, music, poetry, and writings to benefit from art sales. Staff include art therapists, behavioral health professionals, peers, family members and volunteers.
Art Saves Lives!


“We are blessed to provide an environment where individuals affected by serious behavioral health challenges can experience the healing power of the arts. Whether it is through painting, music, poetry, mosaics, or jewelry making, our artists openly admit that Art Saves Lives.” Karen D. Puthoff, PSA Behavioral Health Agency, Deputy CEO.

PSA Art Awakenings

We provide expressive arts programs using the healing power of creativity to explore feelings and process issues. Services are offered to adults and youth with behavioral health challenges in studios, known as “the places where the magic happens”. Services provided for adults are primarily psychosocial rehabilitation with individual, peer support, group and family supportive counseling along with case management. Services for children include expressive art therapy, therapeutic experssive arts and case management as needed. Depending on the Studio location, instruction is also offered in visual art, writing, poetry, music, movement, & drama in addition to pre-job training and education. Participants readily admit that creating art helps reduce stress & the intensity of their psychiatric symptoms.

Additional programs are offered through parent agency PSA Behavioral Health Agency.


PSA Art Awakenings Adult Program is provided in a safe studio environment where artists explore and develop their creative and artistic skills. Artists learn to use creativity as a way of maintaining a healthy well-being. Therapeutic groups use art, poetry, storytelling, creative writing, music, movement and drama that focus on building self-esteem and wellness management skills. We offer technical skills and structured classes in areas such as drawing, painting, special crafts, and mixed media.

The program embraces community integration through its studios, galleries, and culturally diverse community events to develop vocational pursuits related to creating artwork for exhibit and sale. All sites have Certified Peer Support Specialists available to assist participants who are partnered with an expressive therapist who encourages, holds artists accountable, and supports artists in identifying and achieving goals related to their personal, educational, and employment development.


  • Expressive Art Therapy & Therapeutic Expressive Arts is the therapeutic use of creating art by individuals who experience illness, trauma or challenges in living. Visual art, poetry, writing, storytelling, movement, music and drama are used to enhance self-esteem and wellness management skills.
  • A Safe, Supportive Environment fosters exploration and development of artistic skills. Our philosophy cultivates growth through hands-on learning, real-time involvement and meaningful results.
  • Personal Development embraces a holistic path to ongoing wellness and recovery. Our open art studio program offers a wide variety of expressive media to assist individuals toward their goals of health, self-awareness, and empowerment.
  • Pre-Job Training & Education promote independence and professional development. Our approach is collaborative, incorporating facilitation by professional artists, encouragement of vocational training, formal coursework, coaching, mentoring, reflective supervision and technical assistance.
  • Case Management is an opportunity to create a personal treatment plan. The plan includes actions and goals that the artists and the treatment team determine to help the individual function more effectively in their home and community. Staff assists in coordinating with case managers to ensure individual needs are met with effective and timely services.
  • Peer Support models are used whenever possible. Peer artists lend their unique insights in the behavioral health environment to help others in their recovery from the peer perspective. They offer hope and support and assist peers in discovering their own strengths and resiliency. Shared experiences help develop empowerment and independence.

How to Enroll

To participate in PSA Art Awakenings, you must be a member of your Regional Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA) and referred by your clinical team. When your referral is received, you will be contacted for an Intake at the Studio.

Programs for Youth

Engaging youth in structured, creative activities has been shown to decrease agitation and anxiety, balance mood, strengthen self-esteem and increase scholastic performance.

PSA Art Awakenings youth initiatives offer structured, creative individual and group activities for youth, 6-17, and their families. Programs focus on cultivating wellness in the family, community, and educational environments with numerous community outreach and collaborative projects offered throughout Cochise, Maricopa, Pima, Pinal and Yuma Counties. On site services vary at select studio locations.

PSA Art Awakenings’ youth teams, in conjunction with the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), are excited to offer the Tucson and Yuma communities its enhanced services focusing on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for youth, 6 to 17 for more information please Click Here.

Studio Services

Youth Studio Services are offered in a safe, stable and consistent environment to children and teens, ages 6 – 17. Youngsters are immersed in the art making process with a variety of creative tools and media that help them learn how to address thoughts and feelings. Groups are led by expressive art therapists and qualified specialists who meet the diverse needs of each youngster while providing ongoing coordination of care and review of individual progress.

What We Offer

  • Expressive Art Therapy & Therapeutic Expressive Arts with emphasis on trusting therapeutic relationships
  • Case Management
  • Encouragement of interests and needs as identified in therapy and the treatment plan
  • Help in addressing long standing peer, school and family issues
  • Group, individual and family sessions with activities that enhance the creative experience, promote participation and healthy family interaction. Groups are especially beneficial for foster families and families recovering from trauma.
  • Multi-media discovery sessions that offer opportunities for assessment and treatment through fun, meaningful experiences
  • Fieldtrips to museums, exhibits, and creative gatherings with special events participation are incorporated in harmony with treatment goals

To download the PSA Art Awakenings Youth Program Brochure (PDF) Click Here.
To download the PSA Tucson Youth Services Brochure (PDF) Click here.


Back to PSA Art Awakenings:

Bisbee Studio
Casa Grande Studio
Douglas Studio
NW Phoenix (formerly Glendale) Studio
Parker Studio
Phoenix Studio
Tempe Studio
Tucson Studio
Yuma Studio
Warehouse 1005

Below are some links, references and resources that might be of help or interest to you.

Our Parent Company

PSA Behavioral Health Agency

Friends & Partners

ASU Gammage
ASU Kerr Cultural Center
AMY – Arizona Museum for Youth
Buffalo Exchange
CIA Yuma
Free Arts of Arizona
Governor’s Office for Children, Youth, & Family
Maricopa Workforce Connection
Maricopa County Human Service Department
Phoenix Conservatory of Music
Phoenix Fridas
St. Luke’s Health Initiative
Valley of the Sun YMCA
Wall Arts Studio
West Valley Arts Council

Other Helpful Resources

Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care
Community Partnership of Southern Arizona

Government Agency Websites Involving Mental & Behavioral Health

Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) Health Plans
Arizona Department of Health Services, Behavioral Health Services Division (ADHS, BHS)
Mental Health Government Site
US Dept of Human & Health Services (HHS)
Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA)

Mental and Behavioral Health Association Websites

Mental Health Association of Arizona
National Alliance on Mental Illness, Arizona (NAMI)
American Psychiatric Association (APA)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Miscellaneous Mental and Behavioral Health Websites

Healthy Place
Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA)
Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation
Schizoaffective Disorder

Links are provided as a courtesy. They are not intended to, nor do they, constitute an endorsement of any linked materials by PSA Art Awakenings or PSA Behavioral Health Agency.