Benefits of Art Therapy
Posted on 09/25/19: Addiction Treatment
The process of addiction recovery can be different for each person. One form of therapy that may work for one person may not work for the other. Your recovery process is unique to you! Because of this, the recovery community has created a wide variety of therapies that can cater to many different people. Traditional therapy, group therapy, equine therapy, adventure therapy, and yoga therapy are just a few examples of the many different therapies that people use in the addiction recovery process. Therapy is used by former addicts to help themselves cope with their new lifestyle and not fall into old habits. Having a coping mechanism and a way to deal with any sort of negative thoughts is essential for former addicts, especially if they want to continue living a sober life. Today, we are going to talk about one form of therapy that is based on creativity and expressing yourself: Art Therapy.
What is Art Therapy?
So you may be wondering, what is art therapy? Well, simply put, it’s a form of therapy that is centered around creating art pieces and expressing oneself. It’s a relatively new form of therapy that many addiction centers have started to implement into their programs. As we mentioned earlier, therapy is meant to help someone that is struggling with personal problems and looking for ways of dealing with them. For many former addicts, art therapy has become a cornerstone of their sobriety. If you are sitting there and saying to yourself “Oh that wouldn’t work for me, I am not creative.” you’re wrong! Art is all about expressing yourself, there are no wrong or right ways of doing that.
Art therapy can be great for those individuals going through unbearable amounts of stress and anxiety; often experienced by those in the first stages of detox. Creating art can bring a little more relaxation into a person’s already stress-inducing life. Not only are former addicts having to deal with withdrawal symptoms, but they are also dealing with an entirely new life. They are depriving themselves of something they heavily relied on to feel “normal”. They are also having to deal with new environments in which being open about emotions is encouraged. This can be hard for former addicts especially if they used substances to push down unwanted emotions. Art therapy demands that you express your inner feelings, not through words, but through a pen or paintbrush. This can be easier for some addicts that may be reclusive to openly discuss their feelings. Art therapy not only helps these people be more open, but it helps them resolve emotional conflicts, build up self-esteem, garner more self-awareness, and better their social skills.
Benefits of Art Therapy
As we’ve previously mentioned, art therapy can reap a lot of benefits for those going through addiction recovery. Let’s discuss exactly what those benefits are and how they can help someone who formerly struggled with addiction.
Helps Deal with Unpleasant Thoughts/Emotions
One of the hardest things people going through addiction recovery has to deal with our negative thoughts and emotions. Unpleasant memories, unresolved trauma, past breakups, deceased loved ones, the list goes on when it comes to the unpleasantries that these people have to deal with. These unpleasant thoughts, memories, and emotions play a key role in whether or not former addicts continue to abuse substances. If these things are not properly addressed, the person will not be able to live a successful sober life. These unpleasant memories and emotions can cause a trigger for former addicts, leading them into relapse. Art therapy gives the former addict an outlet to express their thoughts and emotions openly; sort of an artsy punching bag if you will. It allows patients to express these emotions and hopefully replace them with positive ones.
Helps Prevent Relapse
As is the goal of most forms of therapy in addiction recovery, art therapy aims to prevent a person from relapsing. Addiction is not so much a choice as it is a disease that affects your mind, body, and soul. It poisons the mind into thinking it needs a particular substance in order to function normally. The reward system in our brains becomes tainted when we continually use a substance. This is how addicts become compulsively reliant on a particular substance. What art therapy aims to do is heal the mind, detox the body, and free the soul of substance abuse. Through this creative outlet, an addict can occupy their free time with something more productive and healthy, rather than filling it with something like substance abuse.
Helps with Communication
As we mentioned earlier, communication is probably one of the hardest things for a former addict to deal with. For someone that struggled with substance abuse, communication was more than likely not at the top of their priorities. Most addicts abuse substances to push some kind of emotion down in them or to try and escape some harsh reality. After living a life of solitude and seclusion, it’s hard to become open and express yourself to strangers, even if they are trying to help. Thankfully, this form of therapy can be great for those people that struggle with being open right away. This allows more secluded people to have an outlet to non-verbally communicate with their peers or therapists. This can allow the former addict to communicate in a way that is more comfortable to them, ideally leading them to be more verbally open in the future.
As you can see, art therapy is all about expressing oneself and being more open. Giving a former addict the ability to create whatever they want, however they want, can give them a sense of control in an otherwise seemingly chaotic world. This form of therapy may not work for every person trying to go through addiction recovery, but it has worked for so many! Do some research and see if this therapy is right for you.
If you or someone you know needs help with addiction, contact Sober Living of AZ now to get the help you need. Sober Living offers an acclaimed recovery environment that merges upscale and luxury accommodations with affordability, clinical expertise and an unwavering commitment to patient care and aftercare. Call us now at 602-737-2458.
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