The Many Benefits of Art Therapy During Drug and Alcohol Rehab

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There is a good reason why so many alcohol and drug rehabs have adopted art therapy as one of their therapeutic tools. There are so many different ways to promote recovery and healing for people who are addicted to substances. This form of treatment not only gives people a break from talk therapy, but it can teach important life skills as well.

Art therapy has a lot of benefits when used in an addiction treatment setting. We would like to take a moment and discuss what they are and how they help people who are striving to get and remain clean and sober.

What is Art Therapy?

According to The American Art Therapy Association (AATA), art therapy is defined as, “an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.”

Art therapy should always be facilitated by a professional art therapist. It can do so much to help to support the client’s treatment goals in several different ways. Clients often find that they:

  • See improvement in their sensorimotor and cognitive functions.
  • Have better self-esteem.
  • Increase their self-awareness.
  • Are more emotionally resilient.
  • Have better insight into their problems.
  • Have improved social skills.
  • Are better equipped to reduce and resolve conflicts.
  • Manage their stress levels more efficiently.

Art therapy has the ability to engage the body, mind and spirit in ways that are different from talk therapy alone. Visual expression has a way of empowering clients to see real and lasting changes in their lives.

What are the Benefits of Art Therapy During Drug and Alcohol Rehab?

There are a lot of different ways art therapy can benefit people during substance abuse treatment. It can be helpful throughout each stage of the recovery process.

Art Therapy Promotes Visual Communication

When people go to rehab – especially during their first days there – it can be especially difficult. Suddenly they are placed with a group of strangers and expected to talk all about their problems. It is not surprising that so many people find this to be rather challenging.

But art therapy offers a different way for people to express themselves that does not involve talking. People in recovery can use this alternative “voice” to work through many of the painful emotions and feelings they face. It provides a different method of communication for people who might not be able to put everything into words just yet.

Art Therapy Can Facilitate Personal Breakthroughs

Many people who go to drug and alcohol rehab have lived through some extremely painful, difficult situations and experiences. They may have problems with their self-worth and they may find it difficult to trust other people.

Art therapy can help with both of these. Over time, clients learn to build trust in their therapists as they experience personal breakthroughs in their treatment. In turn, clients’ self-worth is built as they begin to reach milestones in their recovery.

Art Therapy Contributes to Self-Reflection

People who are addicted to drugs and alcohol tend to have distorted views of themselves as well as of the world around them. These views may be the result of trauma, abuse, neglect or other negative influences in their lives. For many people, they are exactly why they started using in the first place.

Art therapy can help people rediscover themselves in brand new ways. They have the opportunity to learn who they are and how they relate to the world. As they progress in treatment, they start to see themselves as capable of being successful in recovery.

Art Therapy Can Aid in the Emotional Healing Process

Emotional healing is extremely important during drug and alcohol rehab. Clients often come to treatment with painful scars that they have been self-medicating with substances. Some have been living that way for years, and they do not know any other way to function.

Art therapy is extremely affirming and it can successfully treat those scarred areas. It often draws from cognitive-behavioral therapy to help people replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Art projects may include affirmation posters or cards that proclaim messages like, “I am loved,” or “I believe in myself.” This positive reinforcement is a critical component of recovery.

Art Therapy Encourages Better Self-Confidence

Many people with addictions struggle with self-confidence. In fact, that issue is often the core problem that drives a lot of people to use drugs and alcohol. This is because how we see ourselves has a direct impact on how we live our lives.

Art therapy utilizes various art projects to demonstrate the ability of each client in rehab. People are often surprised that they are able to create what they create. There is nothing like the sense of accomplishment people feel once they have finished a project.

Art Therapy Can Help with Relapse Prevention

One of the most critical components of rehab is relapse prevention. Once a person has finished their treatment, they will encounter multiple triggers that all need to be dealt with appropriately. If they are not, there is a good chance the client will end up relapsing.

Art therapy can instruct people in how to avoid relapsing once they have stopped using. Creative expression can be used to work through triggers and temptations. It is a skill that can have a lot of long-term benefits.

SpringBoard Recovery Now Offers Art Therapy During Addiction Treatment

At SpringBoard Recovery, we have seen first-hand how art therapy can benefit our clients. It helps them to change their perspectives in positive ways, and it provides them with essential skills that will help them for the rest of their lives.

We are proud to offer art therapy as just one of the many therapeutic tools we use for our clients’ treatment. Would you like to learn more about our program or about how art therapy can help you recover? Please contact us today.



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