Art Therapy in Addiction Recovery Benefits of Art Therapy

” The conversation is designed to help the patient become aware of their own feelings and begin working through unresolved conflicts. Painting, chalk drawing, sketching, journaling, playing an instrument, singing, and clay throwing. While these may all be enjoyable hobbies, they can also have many unexpected benefits. At Clearbrook Treatment Center, we are strong supporters of using art to help with the addiction recovery process. Art and music therapy may be covered by insurance, depending on the specific policy and the provider offering the therapy.

Give them a moment to reflect on what activities, people, or things help them feel good. These can be as simple as notes on scraps of paper that mention goals the person wants to achieve or affirmations that evoke positive emotions. Pleasant memories with loved ones and favorite places and things are our cornerstones, evoking positive, sentimental emotions that promote healthy recovery. Besides, a self-care box reminds individuals of positive self-affirmations and goals, keeping them on the right path. The participants will put together inspirational words or phrases that they feel define their core values.

Defining Art Therapy and How it Works

Rather than focus on the thought of relapsing, you can instead turn to your preferred art form. The distraction keeps you away from harmful substances while furthering your recovery journey with artistic expression. A profound realization many of us have when utilizing art as therapy is that you can express yourself in many different ways. While art therapy typically incorporates visual media like drawing, painting, and sculpture, art can take many forms. If you like to sing or play an instrument, you can compose songs that illustrate how you’re feeling.

Art therapy isn’t designed to make you the next Picasso, but it can help you express yourself and learn more about who you are. In fact, one of the most significant advantages of participating in the creation of art is the ability to illustrate your emotions. One important cultural consideration is that not one size fits all regarding how someone views recovery.

Online Therapy

Participants don’t need to have artistic talent — they need to open themselves up to the experience and engage to benefit from this practice. Exercise is already an effective way to aid addiction recovery, and dance therapy takes art expression and combines it with physical movement. These two together can make for a great tool to improve mood, increase focus and aide creative rehabilitation.

The therapist creates a safe environment for the client to express their emotions freely using music. This experience helps awaken and heal emotional wounds that are often buried deep within the psyche of the individual. Studies have shown that music has a profound effect on the human brain which can alter mood states, reduce stress levels and induce relaxation. In addition, it is important to note that processing emotions can be less than comfortable at times, and that’s okay.

Art Therapy Exercises

In addition, art therapy may play a role in alleviating depression, reducing stress, and lowering feelings of anxiety. Art therapy is used to help these individuals express their thoughts and feelings through the less confrontational path of creativity. With the support of the art therapist, clients can identify previously unrecognized feelings and themes that show up in their artwork and then process them in a creative and nonjudgmental environment. Art therapy occurs in a wide range of settings and individual art therapists may alter how they practice to suit the needs of their clients or the institutions where they are practicing. Through art therapy, those in recovery can explore, understand and resolve issues they may feel uncomfortable talking about in traditional talk sessions. They can safely feel and process the full range of emotions surrounding their addiction experience.

how art therapy can help in addiction recovery

The box can also be a simple cardboard box or a box the individual has an attachment to, such as a small jewelry box. A 2017 study found that art displayed in hospital settings contributed to an environment where patients felt safe. It also played a role in improving socialization and maintaining an identity outside of the hospital. If you or someone you love is thinking about art therapy, there are some common misconceptions and facts you should know. The creation or appreciation of art is used to help people explore emotions, develop self-awareness, cope with stress, boost self-esteem, and work on social skills. Art therapy provides a break from intensive talk therapy and allows the subconscious to express itself.

Why Art Therapy for Addiction Works

Understanding Art and Music Therapy goes beyond just learning about the therapeutic techniques involved in using art and music as tools for recovery. It involves understanding the psychological, emotional, and physical effects that these creative expressions can have on an individual. This article will provide an overview of these therapeutic techniques and their potential benefit in addiction recovery. Alternative to Meds Center is proud to offer our clients a way to heal through artistic self-expression.

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However, art can be an effective tool in helping those with substance use disorder (SUD) reach and maintain recovery. Feelings of shame and reactions of denial often accompany and help to perpetuate addiction. Art therapy has a unique ability to help address feelings of shame and denial, as it has been proven to help break down resistance to addiction treatment and build motivation for recovery. An art therapist might use fluid mediums to help patients experience the sensation of being out of control to help prompt admission of the need for sobriety. The benefits of art therapy make it particularly useful in addiction treatment.

Some forms of Art Therapy include drama therapy (using acting as a form of creative expression), dance/movement therapy (focusing on movement as a means for healing) among others. Similarly, Music Therapy includes niche fields like Neurologic Music Therapy (using music-based exercises to improve patient’s neurological function). Often, the therapist will guide the participant through specific art projects with the goal of helping them to understand both their addiction and their recovery. Expression through art can help individuals communicate their feelings and take the next steps to recover.

  • A sculptor, Kwiatkowska combined her passions by using drawing in her family therapy practice.
  • In cases of addictions or obsessions and compulsions, participants can heal through doing healthy repetitive activity with a healthy focus like meditation to find peace or joy.
  • This part of the session provides you with an opportunity to express anything that is on your mind that you may wish to discuss.
  • Another advantage of art therapy that often gets overlooked is the ability to form bonds with others in situations very similar to your own.

Being able to view this experience outside of oneself in the form of art can help us finally acknowledge our need and desire to attain sobriety. Seeing this visually can help create a visual representation of where we truly are internally. There are many different types of art therapy for treating addiction throughout the recovery process. It’s helpful to experiment with different types in order to find the right fit.

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