Author: James Anderson

Art Therapy for Addiction: Benefits, Techniques, How to Find a Therapist

art therapy for addiction recovery

During art therapy, you may have freedom to create your own art pieces or follow the directions of your art therapist. Art therapy may be effective because of the relationship among substance use disorder and mood and emotion regulation. The number of studies on art therapy treatment and SUDs remain relatively small, however, so scholars need more evidence to determine the therapy’s effectiveness. Participants can start by creating their jar out of clay, as the process of molding clay can be a relaxing experience. They can also decorate or paint a wooden box that will hold the memorable items or self-care trinkets.

  1. Born and educated in Europe, she came to the United States to work at the National Institute of Mental Health.
  2. There are also many different ways that the therapist can employ art based on your needs and where you are in the healing journey.
  3. Art becomes the expression of feelings that words cannot communicate, whether using a paintbrush, ink pen, or charcoal pencil.
  4. Patients gain more emotional comfort and learn how to assess their feelings.

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.

Art and Creativity in Addiction Recovery: Healing Through Expression

Patients make a visual representation of their lives by drawing a timeline that begins on the year of their birth and ends with the current year. They are then guided to think about the most significant events of their lives, both good and bad. 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. A study from the Journal of Addictions Nursing showed that 36.8% of rehab programmes offered art therapy as part of their treatment plan.

art therapy for addiction recovery

Materials such as paint, pencils and clay are often used in the process. Art therapy is a vehicle for us to channel our emotions while being supported and guided along the way. If you want to know about the addiction treatment options that can work for you and your loved ones, contact us today. Generally, an art therapist is required to have a master’s degree at minimum in order to practice. Scholars believe that art therapy may be effective because the act of creating art strengthens neurological connections in the brain.

Beginning with her 1947 book, Studies of the “Free” Expression of Behavior Problem Children as a Means of Diagnosis and Therapy, she wrote several books on the topic. Another pioneer in the field of art therapy was Margaret Naumberg, the founder of the Walden School in New York. Often called the mother of art therapy, she promoted the approach in the United States. She said that children were healthier and developed better when taught to express themselves creatively. If you or someone you know is looking for addiction treatment, we encourage you to reach out immediately and take the first step toward a healthier, happier life.

How Does a Person Become an Art Therapist?

It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals. If you are considering a career in art therapy, it’s worth noting that the field is expected to grow. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the field will expand by 8% in the decade that began in 2019. As with other forms of therapy, a new client can expect to spend some time getting to know their therapist at the first session. This session also allows the therapist to get to know their client and assess their therapeutic needs.

art therapy for addiction recovery

Creating thank you cards is a great way to show appreciation and support positive feelings and an optimistic mind. After crafting the jar or box, have the individuals collect items that remind them of pleasurable, happy memories. This can be anything from old letters, movies or bus tickets, photos, etc.

The Impact of Art Rehabilitation Therapy for Addiction

Participants don’t need to have artistic talent — they need to open themselves up to the experience and engage to benefit from this practice. By spending a few minutes to focus on an art project, people will gain a sense of accomplishment and perhaps some insight into their thoughts and feelings. Each of these art projects is a great part of a journey toward recovery and can be completed in a residential treatment center.

Contact Blanchard Institute to Start Your Recovery Journey

Within that square, they can draw lines to create as many sections as they desire and begin drawing dashes, lines, strokes, or dots to create more shapes. Any skill level of artistry easily allows the participant to accomplish Zentangle—to achieve something in a thoughtful and healing format. All you need to create zentangles are some pens and/or pencils and some paper. The participants should use colors that represent positivity and those that they enjoy the most.

Although art therapy is a powerful way to reveal and bring forth our emotions, this is only one part of the therapy puzzle. Art therapy can help us feel empowered in our recovery by coming to realisations and moving through emotional difficulties without the use of substances. Being able to visually see our emotions and thoughts in front of us in the form of a piece of art can help us then verbalise what is happening in our inner world. During an art therapy session using active imagination, the client has full freedom to create whatever they’d like. During this process, the therapist asks questions that tie back to emotions and thoughts, connecting the artwork with the inner workings of the artist.