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Art therapy as an Ingredient for Substance Abuse Treatment

Posted: January 13, 2015 by in Alcohol and Drug Treatment Care Rehab

art therapy


In the middle of the 20th century, art therapy was used as a way to better understand a person’s mental conflict, by providing a visual representation that could contribute to its resolution. As the years have progressed, art therapy has evolved. It has been used in the treatment of a number of diseases such as Parkinson’s, AIDS, and even cancer. It has also been used to treat mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. Its use has increased significantly in the treatment of substance abuse, too. Art therapy has proven its worth as a means for self-expression for those who are not really good at verbalizing feelings. Sometimes art allows you to express yourself better than words.

Is It Important to be a Good Artist When Entering Art Therapy?

To benefit from art therapy, you do not need to be artistic. It’s more a matter of expressing thoughts and emotions using artistic media. Besides, no one will judge you on the quality of your work. The objective is to see what your art reveals about you and your inner thoughts.

What to Expect in an Art Therapy Session?

During the art therapy process, there will be a variety of creative activities to participate in. You may be asked to adapt paintings of famous artists like Van Gogh in your artwork. If you are not familiar with famous painters, the therapist will provide guidance by giving a brief history of their lives and significant contributions to the art world. In other sessions, you may be asked to just visually express the emotion that you are currently feeling. The challenge comes when a therapist encourages you to try mediums you are unfamiliar with, or asks to use your non-dominant hand to draw. Through these challenges, you will learn to give up some control over your behaviors. The main purpose of those exercises is to encourage you to look at your life from a different perspective. It can be liberating to express yourself through art. It can help you confront your fears and process your desires.

A professional art therapist can analyze your inner world and can peek into your emotions and desires through the art you produce. This will take your addiction treatment to a deeper level, which can benefit you significantly.

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