What Is Art Therapy?

What Is Art Therapy? | Just Believe Recovery Pennsylvania

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When an individual decides to seek professional help for substance abuse, there are several options for what form of treatment he or she can undergo. Many rehab centers offer various activities, including behavioral therapy, individual and family counseling, relapse prevention, music, and art therapy. These modalities are often used in combination to allow the person to engage in various forms of creative expression and self-healing.

Types of Art Therapy

In art therapy, individuals use creativity and ingenuity to produce art that expresses themselves positively and productively. The goal of art therapy is for the person to increase their communication methods to help them convey their experiences fully and in different ways.

Creative forms commonly used in art therapy include the following:

  • Acting
  • Dancing
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Poetry
  • Sculpting

Art therapy is a form of group therapy that can help people communicate thoughts and feelings that they may be unable to express with words. This therapy is particularly helpful for those who have underlying psychological issues related to their addiction, such as childhood trauma or mental health conditions.

Creating art is often a non-verbal process that increases the ways an individual can express ideas and emotions. Therefore, art therapy offers an opportunity to examine and address the problems in a person’s life that he or she does not feel comfortable discussing verbally. Moreover, art therapy uses various expressive forms to encourage patients to open up about their experiences to gain insight and meaning.

Benefits of Art Therapy

Artistic talent is not needed to engage in art therapy. An individual only needs to be open to the experience and participate actively to be helped by these sessions. Many people discover that art therapy is a relaxing and enjoyable way to confront and deal with some of the more complex aspects of recovery.

Creative activity offers a means to process unpleasant emotions and anxieties that can manifest during treatment. After rehab, activities, including drawing or painting, can be practiced throughout the individual’s life as a venue to express feelings, alleviate stress, and explore further creativity.

According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy can help a person in various ways, including the following:

  • Resolving emotional struggles
  • Building confidence and awareness
  • Mitigating anxiety
  • Developing social skills

Socially, art therapy sessions also work as a form of group therapy and promote bonds among peers. As people work together on guided projects, they can develop new methods of coping, share responses to treatment, and practice collaborative skills. For many, art therapy acts as an initiation into the enjoyment and fulfillment of creative projects.

What Is Art Therapy? | Just Believe Recovery Pennsylvania

Art Therapy Techniques

There are three techniques that art therapy commonly employs:

Gestalt Methods – In Gestalt techniques, a therapist helps the person work through current emotions and experiences. Artwork might be used as an initiation into a more insightful conversation, or as a tool for the person to share their thoughts and explain the artwork’s meaning from their own perspective.

Active Imagination – With their own works of art as a starting point, the individual allows their mind to wander through natural, free associations of ideas. This opens the door to more profound self-examination and discussion about thoughts and feelings.

Third-Hand Approach – The third-hand technique includes assistance from the therapist. The individual is in control of the overall creative expression, but the therapist aids in creating the artwork.

Using Art Therapy in Substance Abuse Treatment

Recovery from addiction consists a lot more than detox and mere abstinence from drug or alcohol abuse. Overcoming the disease of addiction requires a thorough understanding of factors that contribute to substance abuse and the reasons why one has been resistant to healing.

Art therapy can be beneficial for those undergoing addiction treatment because it offers them ways to understand and cope with their thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and addiction. Both art and traditional therapies focus on helping a person exercise self-examination and develop healthy coping skills. However, art therapy can also be invaluable for an individual to address certain aspects of life that he or she finds challenging to discuss more conversationally.

Getting Help for Addiction

Art therapy can be an enjoyable way for an individual to work through thoughts and emotions that have contributed to or exacerbated his or her mental health issues and addictive behavior. It offers them a safe venue to express ideas and feelings without fear of judgment or using conventional talk-focused methods. Thus, it can be a welcomed change for a person looking for something different from traditional conversational therapy.

Just Believe Recovery is a specialized addiction treatment center that offers comprehensive programs in partial hospitalization and residential formats that feature holistic approaches, including art therapy. Services we offer also include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Individual and group counseling
  • Substance abuse education
  • Health and wellness education
  • Relapse prevention
  • Life skills training
  • Music therapy
  • Aftercare planning

Are you or someone you love struggling with a dependence on drugs or alcohol? If so, we urge you to contact us today! We are dedicated to helping those who need it most break free from the cycle of addiction and reclaim the healthy, satisfying lives they deserve!

Just Believe Recovery is a fully licensed, Joint Commission accredited, comprehensive drug and alcohol treatment center located in Carbondale, Pennsylvania

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