For me, art class as a child was always a treat. It was a break from the regularity of book lessons, the monotony of which could sometimes take the fun out of the learning process. In art class, we wore smocks, we threw paint on canvases, we got our hands dirty, and we were creative. This is the same concept used in art therapy. Instead of traditional therapy that is focused on verbal conversation, art therapy is a break from the regular talk-out-our-feelings scenarios. It allows patients to mold their creativity and use hands-on activities to heal their bodies.
The value of art therapy to patients’ Non 12-Step Rehab treatment is undeniable. We have stressed the importance of communication when we discussed our family treatment, but communication is the key to any addiction recovery. Art therapy is a powerful method of communicating emotions, making it unique to healing and beneficial to someone recovering from an addiction.
Verbal communication is the most common method of communication during recovery at rehab centers. But because everyone is different, our Non 12-Step Rehab program treats patients individually, which sometimes involves alternative, non-verbal treatments, such as art therapy.
Drug and alcohol addiction can be a painful process. It’s not easy for everyone to discuss or even articulate what they are feeling. This is what makes art therapy so effective during addiction treatment. There is no need to verbalize painful thoughts or struggle to find the right words to describe feelings. Rather, art therapy eliminates these obstacles and allows recovering addicts to express their inner issues and emotions in a visual manner.
Different Artistic Mediums Teach Different Lessons
There are many different artistic mediums that are utilized in art therapy. Popular methods of art therapy are painting, drawing, and sculpture. Pottery and collage can also be used. Regardless of which art method chosen, the important concept to grasp in art therapy is not pure artistic ability or focusing on your most skilled medium. Rather, it’s based on using these different methods to assist the healing process.
Art therapists often ask patients to use different tactics as a way of progressing their treatment. An example of this might be to ask the patient to use an artistic method that he or she does not typically use. This is so patients learn to relinquish control over their own behaviors. Another example of how therapists use art therapy to work on control issues is by requesting the patient use his or her non-dominant hand during the day’s art exercises.
Excellent at Charting Patient Progress
The art created during therapy is an excellent gauge of a patient’s progress in therapy. Generally, in the beginning stages of therapy, patients’ imagery is much angrier, due to their changing behavior and inability to healthily communicate their emotions. As therapy progresses and the clients begin to recover, there is a notable difference in the mood of their art. It will be evident that they are becoming happier and more comfortable with their new, improved selves.
If the therapist does not see progress in the mood of the art (not the quality) it will be very easy to identify. At this time the therapist can reevaluate the patient’s therapy plan and will adjust the therapy to achieve the desired results.
Benefits of Art Therapy Treatment for Addiction
Common benefits of art therapy are self-discovery, personal fulfillment, empowerment, relaxation and stress release, and symptom relief. These traits are important to recovering addicts. During therapy, patients will become more open about their emotions, which is an imperative step for moving forward in recovery.
When patients are able to open up and achieve traits like self-discovery and personal fulfillment, it will help them resist substances and not feel the urge to use addictive substances in the future.
Art therapy is a valued component to Prominence Treatment Center’s holistic care philosophy. It allows our therapists to communicate with patients and retrain their thinking, and allows patients them to tap into deeper emotions. If you think you would benefit from art therapy, please call us at to speak to one of our helpful staff members today.