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Magic and Behavioral Disorders

Achieving mastery and control over the environment is an important developmental task to experience during adolescence. Magic can be a creative tool to assist in achieving this goal. Offering an outlet for self-expression, self-identity, and appropriate communication (even with the most non-verbal adolescents), magic can be used to capture their attention. Studies have shown that the use of magic with this population resulted in an increase in one’s sense of mastery, enhanced comfort level in social situations, and improved confidence in the performance of adaptive and functional tasks.

When used as a group activity, participants learn a magic trick and perform it for the group using their own dialogue or patter. This process encourages and develops assertiveness, leadership skills, problem solving skills, and increases appropriate social interaction.

Psychologically, magic can raise self-esteem, encourage independence, provide social experiences, and enhance communication and management skills.

Additional therapeutic goals that can be achieved utilizing magic therapy are improved concentration and task follow-through; problem-solving; perceptual skills in spatial relation and form constancy; self-efficacy and self-esteem; following three/four step commands and complex directions; improve mood and appropriateness of affect; and frustration tolerance.

This type of therapy may prove effective in treating various other behavioral disorders including Substance Abuse, Bipolar Disorder, ADHD/ADD, Depressive disorder/depression/mood, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Schizoaffective Disorder.

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