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The Art of Addiction Recovery

By: Carol Morriscey

What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy is a unique approach to drug addiction treatment, allowing emotional expression, holistic healing, and the development of skills for a sober life. Art therapy is a non-verbal alternative to traditional drug rehab treatments. A trained therapist guides participants, allowing them to express their feelings through art, rather than speech. This mode of therapy allows patients to express their emotions and thoughts through a non-verbal medium. This unique approach to psychological therapy caters to individuals who have suffered trauma and other experiences which may be difficult to speak about. Alternatively, they are able to communicate through the visual art they create. Further, the calming motions of creating art allows for a more mindful and healing process for the patients. The kinesthetic, psychological, and visual aspects interact to facilitate a holistic recovery and healing.

How Can Art Therapy Help in Drug Rehab and Addiction Treatment Centers?

Art therapy is a unique tool in the addiction treatment process, which can be a great addition to traditional treatments in drug rehabs. It promotes emotional release for individuals who may find this difficult. Typically, drug use numbs emotional pain, and learning to accept and cope with emotions in a healthy manner is a crucial step in the recovery process. Art therapy can be used to learn these healthy coping mechanisms.

Each step in the process of addiction recovery, from making the decision to attend drug rehab, developing effective plans to resist temptation, and building a new drug-free life require a great deal of problem solving. Art therapy helps in the development of problem solving skills, allowing a successful journey through addiction treatment and recovery from addiction.

Finally, the process of addiction breaks down self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. Through learning a new skill and recovering from psychological trauma, art therapy is able to bolster self-esteem. When reintegrating into daily life, having the self-esteem to overcome temptations and value a sober life is very important. Therefore, not only does art therapy help in the recovery process, but it can also aid in the maintenance of sobriety following a return home from drug rehab.

There are many times when addiction treatment and sober living can seem like an art form in itself. Therefore, it seems only fitting that art therapy be incorporated in the addiction treatment process, both in drug rehabs, as well as following the return to daily life. After all, recovery is beautiful.

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National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers International Security for Traumatic Stress Studies The Canadian Positive Psychology Association The Association for Addiction Professionals