Art Therapy In Recovery: Using the Power of Creativity to Treat Addiction

Get professional help from an online addiction and mental health counselor from BetterHelp. As the session closes, there’s usually time to reflect on the creation process and explore what a certain piece said about the participant’s emotional state. Substance abuse disorders can be very difficult to struggle with, but there are ways you can achieve sobriety today and for the long run. Seeking treatment from experienced rehab and recovery professionals can increase your odds of kicking your old habits and preventing relapse in the future. 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.

how art therapy can help in addiction recovery

The expressive collage-making exercise by expressive arts therapist Shelley Klammer in the video below is designed to enhance self-acceptance. Expressive arts therapy involves a multimodal integration of varied elements of the creative arts therapies into psychotherapy and counseling. It is especially well suited to clients who lack the ability to articulate their inner world with words alone. Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) could be forwarded to SAMHSA or a verified treatment provider.

Create a Collage of “Words to Live By”

Furthermore, art therapists are regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Only individuals registered with this agency can call themselves an art therapist. Art therapy can be used as a complement to traditional mental health treatment. The aim is to manage behaviors, process feelings, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase self-esteem. However, working with a licensed therapist also has its advantages because a professional can tailor each activity to your own needs. If the activities are done in a group, they are excellent for building healthy connections with other people, which may be very helpful if you are fighting depression.

  • Clients express their emotions, moods, memories, and sensations through color, texture, and various artistic mediums.
  • With thank you cards, participants can also paint, draw, or even craft their cards to put a more personal touch on them.
  • The goal is to enjoy the process and promote self-expression, not produce a certain product.

This can include major job changes, meeting an important friend, graduation from college, or the death of a family member. As patients fill in where the milestones are on the timeline, they also draw symbols that represent the event. Art therapy in recovery is not limited to any age group or socioeconomic class. And it has worked well for treating mental health concerns for adults, children, individuals, families, and couples. The focus of these sessions is never on artistic skill or developing talent – it’s not even about creating something aesthetically pleasing. The goal is to allow you the opportunity to express yourself in imaginative, non-verbal ways.

Nature-Based Expressive Arts Therapy – Sally Atkins and Melia Snyder

An art therapist’s goal is not to shape you into an award-winning artist or prepare you for a career of showing your work at various exhibits. You do not need any artistic talent to thrive in art therapy – the only prerequisite is to come with an open mind and a willingness to experiment and learn more about yourself. In the United States, the Art Therapy Credentials Board, Inc. (ATCB) offers credentialing programs that allow art therapists to become registered, board-certified, or licensed depending upon the state in which they live and work. If you are interested in becoming an art therapist, start by checking with your state to learn more about the education, training, and professional credentials you will need to practice.

how art therapy can help in addiction recovery

Because patients are working through painful emotions in a constructive manner, they can feel proud of being creative through challenging times. Furthermore, as someone works to bring emotions to the surface, they feel safe being expressive and feeling understood. Most creative arts therapy sessions begin with a specific prompt, but they can also be free-form. how art therapy can help in addiction recovery An initial prompt helps participants jump into the creative process with a little help. Expressive arts therapy is an adjunct treatment that can be incorporated into your overall Recovery program at 7 Summit Pathways. Using creative expressions like art, music and drama, you may discover a healthy and nontraditional way to vocalize your feelings and emotions.

Dual Diagnosis: Mental Health and Addiction Treatment?

The courses listed below and other programs at EGS are the only expressive arts therapies training options currently available in Europe. In the video below, expressive arts therapist Natalie Rogers uses the two techniques mentioned during a therapy session with the same client. Expressive arts therapy incorporates elements of all forms of creative expression into a multimodal expressive form of integrative psychotherapy (Knill et al., 2005). If you’re creating a self-care box, have the participants add items that represent to them the idea of support and self-help.

  • Art therapy for substance abuse addiction recovery is an effective tool for rebalancing the brain and helping patients find their path to sobriety.
  • The art therapist can also offer some general prompts, such as “Are there moments that inspire happiness?
  • The added support of an art therapist in addition to other methods like detox medication, support groups, and ongoing medical supervision can greatly enhance the experience on the road to recovery.
  • The activity starts with a guided meditation, where participants close their eyes and clear their minds.
  • If you’re ready to learn more about what art therapy can do for you or a loved one, call San Antonio Recovery Center today.


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