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Arizona Art Therapy in the Treatment for Substance Abuse

While it may appear at face value to be a “soft” form of therapy, art therapy has proven to work wonders for many people trying to overcome addiction. This creative form of therapy is highly self-expressive and helps individuals understand themselves, explore emotions, better manage addiction and develop greater self-confidence. Patients of all ages benefit from this therapy.

A qualified art therapist helps patients access and interpret feelings long ago hidden under the veil of substance abuse. Through this creative and self-expressive therapy, patients can learn to overcome problems and personal obstacles. This therapeutic method enables people of all ages to free themselves through artistic creativity.

What is Art Therapy in Alcohol and Drug Treatment?

Art therapy is a widely recognized, effective mental health therapy method directed by a licensed art therapist who helps patients use art media, creativity and produced art to achieve specific goals. Some of those goals may include:

  • Exploration of feelings
  • Reconciliation of emotional conflicts
  • Fostering of self-awareness
  • Management of behavior and addictions
  • Development of social skills
  • Improvement of orientation with reality
  • Reduction of anxiety
  • Building of self-esteem
  • Overall restoration of patient functioning and sense of well-being

This form of therapy is widely used throughout the United States and in other countries by a wide variety of treatment programs and facilities, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Mental health programs
  • Addiction treatment centers
  • Wellness programs
  • Educational programs
  • Senior communities
  • Crisis centers
  • Private medical practices
  • Other clinical and community environments

How Art Therapy Helps Patients in Recovery from Addiction

Art therapy takes place in individual or group settings with an art therapist who helps patients tap into their inherent ability to create. In the process, physical, emotional and mental well-being are enhanced. This type of therapy is helpful for patients with disease, trauma, mental health conditions and addiction.

For addiction treatment patients who have experienced trauma leading to their substance abuse, creative and self-expressive therapy can help them work through the trauma to overcome the hold it has on daily life and mental health. Such traumas include those from abuse, combat, crime, disease, injury and natural disaster.

While creative therapies are used to treat emotional and mental conditions, one of the major benefits that addiction treatment patients gain is that of stress and anxiety relief. Self-discovery is helpful for those individuals, as well as those suffering from depression. A healthy creative outlet can help people get through many of life’s hurdles without turning to other substances.

Inherent talent or ability is never an issue in the creation of works during these sessions. Many patients initially fear expressing themselves during therapeutic sessions. It may feel unnatural in the beginning, but most patients soon look forward to this type of therapy and feel rewarded after each session.

How Does Art Therapy Support Substance Abuse Treatment?

Art therapy has been used in strategies to treat addiction since the middle of the 20th century and has gained an endorsement from the American Art Therapy Association as an effective strategy for substance abuse treatment. It has aided in positive results for long-term recovery in many patients. Recovery in Motion acknowledges the value this therapy brings to our patients and we are happy to offer it as part of our robust collection of therapy choices for you or your loved one.

As addiction often causes one to shrink away from loved ones and isolate, talking face-to-face in individual or group therapy may come as an adjustment to many people suffering from an addiction. Art therapy often acts as a reprieve from this form of communication in treatment by allowing a non-verbal method of self-expression through a creative outlet. The licensed art therapist uses the patient’s creations to help improve the patient’s self-awareness and enhance the understanding of his or her emotional reaction to stress, triggers, relationships, and more.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information says, “Art therapy includes an array of activities, including incident drawings (i.e. a drawing of an incident that occurred while using substances), drawing or painting emotions, stress painting (i.e. painting during times of anxiety or stress in order to relieve feelings of stress), creating an art journal, and creating sculptures.” These activities call upon the creative process to produce art for purposes of interpretation and reflection of the patient’s art pieces.

The benefits of art therapy and its success in substance abuse treatment are illustrated in a wide array of research and studies. It’s particularly effective in breaking down denial, resistance to treatment, and overcoming shame. It allows the participant to communicate with his or her therapist when words are inadequate, which helps the patient develop fundamental understandings of him/herself.

In addition, art therapists facilitate an opportunity for participants to examine and interpret existing pieces of art done by established artists in group therapy, which enhances the progress of one’s healing. These therapist-lead activities can motivate people to change their lives by teaching them how to take action with their new sense of self-awareness.

The National Center for Biotechnology of Information explains, “Art therapy is also thought to be an ideal technique for engaging adolescents since this creative aspect provides an opportunity to take an inner experience to an outer visualization, which in turn can make them more amenable to treatment.” While treatment centers for adolescents and women are more likely to offer art therapy, Recovery in Motion has found that it is an effective method of treatment for adult men and women as well as adolescents; we happily offer this form of treatment to any of our patients that can benefit from it.

Recovery In Motion Art Therapy Programs

Recovery In Motion is a residential addiction treatment program utilizing the 12-step program, dual diagnosis and a wide array of evidence-based treatment modalities to help the ‘whole being’ of a patient recover from substance abuse. Creative and self-expressive therapies are magnificent tools for regaining strength, stability, relaxation and self-confidence. As part of a complete treatment plan, this type of therapy provides a well-rounded approach to overcoming addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Call Recovery In Motion now at (866) 418-1070 to learn more about the therapeutic programs included within comprehensive and affordable residential addiction treatment. Don’t wait – beds are available – your recovery can start now.