Addiction Treatment Through Art Therapy

When you decide to seek help for your battle with addiction, there are numerous options when considering what type of therapy to choose from. From the conventional approach of medicine-based treatments to more holistic and cognitive-focused approaches, all options have a tie to mending your emotional and mental processes to ensure you start a new chapter into long-term recovery successfully. One of the more unconventional, but effective methods to treat addiction is through art therapy.


What is art therapy?


Art therapy is a form of treatment that focuses on mental and emotional healing through various styles of artistry. It is based on the idea that being openly creative can foster a sense of emotional healing and mental wellbeing that cannot be traditionally expressed through words or actions. 


What are some forms of art therapy?


Art therapy can be performed through various means of artwork, from physical expression to creative releases that involve only words or images. Some of the most common types of art therapy include:

  •     Acting
  •     Painting
  •     Dancing
  •     Drawing
  •     Sculpting
  •     Poetry Writing
  •     Music creation 


What is the purpose of art therapy?


The goal of art therapy is for the participant to gain a higher perspective of one’s self. Through art therapy a patient will experience improved cognitive and sensory functions. A patient may also experience 

  • a higher level of self-esteem, 
  • emotional understanding for oneself and others, 
  • a deeper self-awareness, 
  • healthy coping mechanisms, and 
  • an overall better connection with their actions, thoughts and feelings. 

As a person creates artwork, through the technique that most interests them, they can then analyze the finished product reflecting on questions such as how the piece made them feel during the creation process, what emotions it conveys and why they decided to express their feelings through that specific art. Self-reflection is a key piece of art therapy. Not only creating, but understanding the creation, is vital to self-improvement through self-expression.  


How is art therapy effective for addiction treatment?


One of the core ideals behind substance use treatment is breaking the addiction cycle by self-reflection and accountability of past thoughts, emotions and actions that were trigger points for substance use. Through the 12- step recovery program, in combination with art therapy, you can become more connected to your inner being. Through art therapy you learn, and experience, healthy coping mechanisms for instances when triggers arise in your recovery path. 


Art therapy also works on increasing your level of self-esteem, something that can be extremely low during your addiction and thereafter due to feelings of regret, embarrassment, and negativity from substance use. Art therapy is often referred to as a form of expressive therapy, allowing each patient, or artist, to create unique pieces based on their personal feelings and story. Creating pieces allows you to share your story openly with others, which is also a vital part of long-term recovery. Coming to terms with the shortcomings you’ve faced is imperative to healing from them. 


Art therapy is most effective when added in conjunction to other therapies in your recovery journey. Working with your therapist and sponsor directly will allow you to choose the best route for your unique journey. Are you interested in how art therapy can make an impact on your recovery journey or the journey of someone you know? Contact us today to see if this therapy is the answer for you!