How is Art Therapy used for addiction recovery?
NuView Treatment Center offers comprehensive outpatient treatment that combines traditional psychotherapeutic techniques with complementary and alternative evidence-based practices. Our outpatient rehab program utilizes the use of Art Therapy to provide an effective tool for those recovering from addiction.
Different forms of treatment seem to resonate with certain people, and many find that holistic therapies such as yoga, mindfulness-based practices, mediation, and various types of exercise offer them the most benefit. It therapy provides an alternative to traditional psychotherapy that many find allows them an effective outlet for processing some of the difficult emotions faced in recovery.
Overcoming substance requires more than just ridding your body or drugs and alcohol. Lasting recovery requires discovering the origin of your addiction and taking the right steps to correct core level issues.
For those in addiction treatment, specialized art therapy sessions help aid in the healing process and allow for self-reflection and understanding in a way that is enjoyable and easier to manage than traditional psychotherapy.
What is Art Therapy?
Art therapy is considered an experiential therapy. Through it, you’ll address feelings and spiritual obligations through a variety of creative and physical activities.
You don’t need to be an experienced artist to benefit from art therapy. However, many who get involved discover hidden talents they never realized. The overall purpose of this therapy is to allow you to develop a habit that is both relaxing and enjoyable.
Art therapy is an excellent tool for helping people address some of the more difficult and complicated aspects of addiction recovery. It’s a creative way for you to process extremely stressful emotions, anxieties, and depressions. It provides an enjoyable way to reduce your stress, explore your creativity and emotions, all serving as a valuable tool for relapse prevention.
The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) defines the practice as a mental health modality that has allowed people to develop themselves in the following manners:
- By building self-esteem
- By developing social skills
- By encouraging self-awareness
- By reducing anxiety
- By resolving emotional conflicts
Benefits of Art Therapy
Art therapy, if practiced regularly, can provide significant mental health benefits. It has been shown to stimulate the release of dopamine, which as a positive effect on mood and increases neuroplasticity, which helps when forming new behavioral patterns.
Art therapy offers a powerful healing method for those who have experienced personal traumas (i.e., childhood abuse, sexual assault, violence, or a natural disaster). It allows an individual to explore the emotions these traumas have left behind in a safe and controlled environment.
Develop Social Skills
Art therapy helps build social skills. Some therapy sessions can work similarly to group therapy, where people create a piece of art with their peers. Not only does this help individuals develop collaborative skills, but it also allows them to share their responses to therapy.
Effective Coping Tool
Art therapy is so much more than just “drawing out your feelings.” When working alongside an art therapist, you will be lead through a creative process that’s meant to help you cope with challenges of addiction recovery. These include behavioral changes, physical discomforts, and emotional conflict.
Forms of Art Therapy
When you’re first introduced to this therapy method, you’re going to be asked which of the arts you are most interested in participating in. While these will vary depending on what the therapist offers, the most common art therapy activities for addiction recovery include:
- Creative writing
- Jewelry making
- Playing an instrument
As with any other therapy, the choice to engage in its therapeutic properties is ultimately up to you. Art therapy has produced positive results for those in recovery that allow individuals to develop their creativity in a way that is fun and enjoyable.
How is Art Therapy Used in Addiction Treatment?
Art therapy offers a coping tool that helps process difficult emotions. It offers an alternative method of dealing with challenging emotions that can be easier for some than traditional therapy sessions. This therapy provides several benefits to those in addiction treatment, including the following:
Everyone who recovers from drug or alcohol addiction must understand the source of their addiction. More so, they must address the underlying issues that have caused them to develop a dependence on substances and begin the difficult process of correcting those issues.
In many regards, this process is a form of self-discovery. You become aware of where things went wrong and develop an understanding of how to avoid the same mistakes. Art therapy is useful when it comes to this self-discovery as it allows you to go beyond the limits of language and free express yourself in (potentially) new and multisensory ways.
In the early stages of addiction recovery, one of the most considerable difficulties is overcoming negative thoughts and beliefs.
Art therapy allows you to address these emotional struggles in a calming and self-expressive outlet. Through creativity, we have the power to regulate and improve our moods while exploring new avenues for self-care.
The Ability to Share
One of the most beneficial aspects of art therapy is being given a platform to share your work with others. Through this, others will have the chance to bear witness to your struggles and what you’re doing through the healing process.
Social experiences have been shown to be extremely useful in helping individuals overcome addiction. Not only does it allow you to develop support groups that can last a lifetime, but it gives you the skills you’ll need to express yourself in the real world.
One of the most significant benefits of art therapy is that it can be practiced on your own. The practices that you learn in treatment can continue to be used as a tool for maintaining your recovery.
One of the most significant challenges when it comes to relapse is people find themselves struggling with the emotions they felt before recovery. When these emotions become unbearable, many turn back to drugs and alcohol as a means to cope.
By developing artistic habits, you’re giving yourself a new outlet for your emotions. When times get tough, you’ll be more likely to want to turn to the canvas or blank sheet of paper rather than a substance. This ability is far more powerful than many people imagine.
Find out more about Art Therapy and Addiction Treatment
NuView offers comprehensive care for those struggling with addiction. Our integrative outpatient rehab program provides a wide range of clinical and holistic treatment modalities to help improve, mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Contact us for more information on how we can help you or a loved one recover from addiction.