Learning to cope with a substance use disorder requires people to think outside the box and approach their disease with newfound perspective and optimism. After all, overcoming an illness that has negatively impacted physical health, mental wellbeing and positive social connectivity requires a new viewpoint to avoid falling into the same problematic behavioral patterns.
As the saying goes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result. That is why – for your loved one struggling with addiction – changing normal behaviors and trying new things are essential components to both achieving a level of sobriety and sustaining that progress.
What is Art Therapy?
Belonging to a class of treatment known as expressive therapy, art therapy is a fun, creative way to develop social interaction as participants work together or independently on art projects.
Art therapy uses artmaking to enhance the emotional well-being of an individual. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to:
• Resolve conflicts
• Access their emotions
• Develop interpersonal skills
• Manage behaviors
• Reduce stress
• Increase self-esteem, and
• Achieve insight
This alternative form of therapy gives people a chance to express themselves in ways they cannot encapsulate in words and provides an outlet that truly enables emotions to speak without inhibition.
Art Therapy for Addiction
Art therapy is commonly used at rehabilitation centers to help individuals communicate their emotions in a non-verbal manner. This specific therapeutic approach asks people in addiction treatment to explore their inner experience, such as their feelings, perceptions and imagination.
While art therapy may involve learning skills or art techniques, the emphasis is generally, first, on developing and expressing images that come from inside the person, rather than those that may be seen in the outside world.
A recent study of art therapy programs in substance abuse treatment found that 36.8 percent of programs offered art therapy as part of a comprehensive rehabilitation program. It also found that art therapy was particularly successful when combined with other therapies that focus on motivating each participant and encouraging active treatment engagement.
The use of art therapy in substance abuse treatment is not a new concept. Because of its documented benefits and the acknowledgment of its effectiveness by the American Art Therapy Association (AATA), more and more treatment facilities have begun to include art therapy as one of their staple holistic treatment programs.
This has enabled treatment centers to help clients establish a more meaningful, healthier lifestyle after treatment, while also encouraging emotional release through artistic expression.
Additionally, art therapy has shown that creating art works to stimulate the release of dopamine within the brain. This chemical, which is released when we do something pleasurable, essentially makes an individual feel happier. Increased levels of this feel-good neurotransmitter can be very helpful during a recovery journey.
Clinical professionals and experts agree that art therapy has many benefits. From boosting self-esteem and providing a safe outlet to relieve emotions, to providing a sense of control over one’s life and helping them get to know and understand themselves better, art therapy can aid addiction recovery.
During the process of art creation, your loved one will be on a journey of self-discovery that will help them eliminate emotional roadblocks and learn how to communicate better internally and with those around them.
What Are the Benefits of Art Therapy for Addiction?
Some of the identified benefits of engaging in art therapy during addiction recovery include:
• Emotion regulation – Engaging in a creative activity can open a new channel for people to connect with their emotions. For example, studies show that engaging in art therapy can foster a healing environment and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
• Fostering a chance to truly heal the mind – With a therapist guiding the process, creative approaches can be stepping-stones that allow people to eventually talk about their pain rather than escape through drugs or alcohol.
• Providing a pathway through feelings of shame – People struggling with addiction carry a great deal of guilt and shame that can be difficult to put into words. Creative approaches can help them process these feelings so they don’t trigger a relapse.
Art Therapy in Addiction Recovery: Where to Find a Program
Finding the right treatment program to fit your loved one’s specific needs typically requires some research and understanding into what it is your loved one wants to accomplish in treatment. Many of the most successful treatment centers provide a holistic approach that enables them to not only address their addictive impulses, but also learn to heal themselves effectively from the inside out.
If your loved one wants to truly get to the bottom of their addiction, work through their emotions and destructive behaviors and achieve lasting sobriety, they need an addiction treatment center that offers a clinical environment that specializes in whole-body healing.
Holistic Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery
As your loved one’s biggest advocate, we understand how important it is for your loved one to get the life-changing help they need to achieve sobriety. They will enter into a healing environment at Ranch Creek Recovery that’s free of distractions and supported by an expert team.
As a luxury, non-12-step rehab in California, we deliver an alternative, holistic approach to addiction
rehab. We focus on tailor-fitting each recovery program to address every patient’s unique needs – including art therapy.
With a more intimate recovery experience, a higher level of care, a serene environment, individual
recovery plans, and a holistic approach, you can be sure your loved one will receive everything needed
to achieve sobriety and prepare for a thriving, sober life.
Contact us today to get your questions answered.