What is Art Therapy?
Art therapy is defined as “a form of psychotherapy involving the encouragement of free self-expression through painting, drawing, or modeling.” Individuals participating in it will learn many things about themselves by expressing their feelings through their artwork. Art therapy can be an effective supplement in a comprehensive addiction treatment process, and this is because it allows recovering addicts to learn new skills that can help them manage their addiction.
How Does It Work?
Art therapy uses three methods to help individuals overcome their problems: gestalt methods, active imagination, and the “third-hand” approach.
Information on these three methods:
- Gestalt Methods — This technique used in art therapy involves the therapist helping the individual to recognize their current feelings and problems. The person may be instructed to create a piece of artwork, and it is later analyzed to seek out deeper meanings and inner thought processes.
- Active Imagination — This method requires the individual to use their artwork as a starting point, let their mind wander, and see where their art goes. The artwork that results can reveal a deeper message about the person’s true feelings. The active imagination technique used in art therapy can help to uncover underlying problems.
- “Third-hand” Approach — This method allows the individuals to create their artwork, but it can include help from the therapist. The therapist helps people who are unsure of the process so that they can create the best forms of artwork that they can.
What Can Be Learned from Art Therapy?
Self-Expression — Art can help people express their emotions in a way that words cannot. Some people may feel uncomfortable talking about a certain subject, but they could voice their feelings about it in the artwork they produce. The individual’s art can be a reflection of their inner feelings and can allow them to discover many unknown things about themselves.
Creativity — Art allows people to express themselves in ways that they never thought possible from mixing various colors to testing new textures. For individuals who are known to be creative to those who aren’t, art therapy can help people of all artistic backgrounds bring out their inner creativity.
Stress Management — When people become stressed, they tend to find some outlet for it (healthy or unhealthy). Art can be a healthy outlet for stress, and this concept can be taught by participating in art therapy. Learning how to manage stress healthily is vital to managing addictions.
Communication Skills — It can be completed alone or in groups. When creating artwork with a few people around, individuals will be able to communicate with them and enhance their social skills. Since addiction often results in relationship problems, group art therapy can help them learn how to communicate more effectively.
How Can Art Therapy Help an Addict?
The many skills that are learned in art therapy can help those who are suffering from addiction to drugs or alcohol. Different art therapy ideas are effective forms of therapy to help people come out of their addiction because they provide them with the tools they need to recognize their feelings. Art therapy allows individuals to express their emotions in a way that they typically couldn’t with everyday conversation so that it can be beneficial in the addiction treatment process.
Not only can art therapy help drug or alcohol addicts, but it can also assist them in prevent relapse in the future. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 40% to 60% of people who were once addicted to substances will relapse in the future. Art therapy equips individuals with the skills they need so that they can manage their drug cravings, triggers, or distractions in the future. It is beneficial in helping addicts overcome addiction as well as prevent addiction from occurring again once their treatment has ended.
If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction and is interested in programs like art therapy, call A Forever Recovery at our toll-free number to get started on your journey to a healthy lifestyle. A Forever Recovery wants to help those suffering from addiction to find the best treatment and recovery options for them so that they can maintain a substance-free lifestyle. Call A Forever Recovery today!