Art therapy is a type of experiential therapy, used in the management of substance abuse, trauma, eating disorders, anger management, multiple types of physical and behavioral addictions, grief and loss recovery, chronic pain, and treatment of compulsive habits such as gambling. Experiential therapy is administered in a clinical setting where it is provided in conjunction with other forms of therapies like talk therapy.
Art therapy encourages a patient to explore various forms of expression including designs, mediums, and colors. Art therapists then help them assess their artwork to understand their innermost feelings. Patients are encouraged to express themselves more productively, promoting self-understanding, which is an integral element of recovery.
Anyone can benefit from art therapy. One does not need to have a background in arts or an artistic aptitude to participate in art therapy; they only need to be perceptive to the whole experience and participate actively to reap the benefits of such therapeutic sessions. Countless clients have discovered that art therapy is a relaxing and pleasant way to address some of the highly complicated aspects of rehab.
Creative activity allows an individual to process nerve-wracking emotions and apprehensions that may present themselves during the treatment. Once the stay at a rehab is completed, activities like painting or sketching, can be attempted throughout one’s life to vent their feelings, reduce stress, and explore creativity.
As stated by the American Art Therapy Association (AATA), art therapy is a mental health treatment approach that can empower an individual in multiple ways:
One of the fundamental goals of art therapy is to enable an individual to return to healthy functioning, be that on an emotional, cognitive, or social level. Art therapy can be immensely beneficial for treating individuals struggling with personal traumas like sexual assault, childhood abuse, natural disasters, or violence. Experiences and memories too overpowering to confront directly can be addressed using visual media, facilitating the release of stressful emotions in a safe setting. An individual develops a sense of control through their creative activity which may be lacking in their life. Therefore, art therapy can become a coping mechanism to deal with recovery challenges.
Art therapy can be conducted as individual therapy. However, in a social setting, it can be conducted in groups which may help the members form bonds with their peers. It may also be administered in couple or family settings. As people start working together on guided assignments, they can adopt new ways of coping, practicing their combined skills, and sharing their feedback. This versatile treatment approach is practiced in different settings, ranging from schools, community mental health centers, medical facilities, inpatient psychiatric units, rehabilitation facilities, senior communities, to residential recovery centers.
Just as in the management of mental disorders, art therapy has also been found to be extremely useful in the management of substance use disorders (SUD). Therapists use it as a tool to pave the way for emotional release, stress management, assertiveness, and alignment with recovery. Art therapy helps:
It is comprehensive strategy comprising group therapy, individual therapy, 12-step meetings, and family counseling. It provides a break from talk therapy and helps a patient express their emotions through creative outlets.
Art therapy is one of the most efficient client-based forms of alternative therapy in clinical settings. It can be undertaken during a rehab program (inpatient or outpatient) and even during aftercare. Many psychotherapists, mental health professionals, social workers, and other professionals engaged in the management of drug addiction and mental health disorders agree that art therapy can complement the key constituents of drug treatment and mental health treatment such as medication and psychotherapy.
If you or a loved one would like to include this experiential therapy in your mental health or addiction treatment plan, then get in touch with the Invictus Health Group. We are associated with reputed behavioral health centers having experienced art therapists, who help thousands of people attain spiritual recovery. For more information about our affiliate treatment providers, call our 24/7 helpline 866-548-0190 and talk to a member from our admissions team. You can also chat online to a representative for further assistance.