Art Therapy for Addiction Recovery

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At times it becomes very difficult for those in recovery to talk about their experiences, their struggles, and their emotions. These are all things that must be addressed when recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction, in order for the person to fully recover. Different therapies, such as art therapy, help patients work through their deepest emotions in a way that is less intimidating.

Art therapy has been around for decades, but it is a method for treatment that has increased in popularity in recent years. Therapists are now realizing the benefits of using various methods to help patients express their emotions. Art therapy is used in select treatment centers across America today.

Identifying Emotions in Art Therapy

When treating someone with a drug or alcohol addiction, it is necessary to help the person physically detach from their substance, but then to also mentally and emotionally let go of their substance abuse. In order to do this, the patient must identify the underlying causes of their substance abuse, whether it was conflict or abuse in their past, emotional trauma in the present, or things like stress and anxiety. When past experiences and emotions are too painful for the patient to address out loud, other methods for expressing those feelings must be used. Art therapy is one of the best ways to express feeling and emotion without words.

Participants in art therapy may be asked to draw or create a picture or sculpture that depicts an emotion. Or they may be asked to create something that reflects their feelings at the moment or in reaction to a certain experience. Over time, the therapist will use the patient’s art to understand their feelings and their progress in recovery.

Art therapy helps patients express their deepest struggles and emotions and it helps them build trust with their therapist. Art therapy also helps an individual increase their self-confidence and their ability to manage stress.



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