Plum Creek Recovery Ranch’s clinically based treatment program incorporates art therapy with other evidence-based therapies. This includes cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and motivational interviewing to provide a well-rounded treatment experience that gives our clients the best chance for a lasting recovery. You don’t need special tools or a deep understanding of the arts to get started in an art therapy program for substance abuse disorders. To start art therapy and really have the program make a difference, patients need to be committed to getting clean and staying sober. Facing the possibility of life without drugs and alcohol can be scary, but it is the best way for you to move forward.

Art therapy can help people regulate their mood and emotions and find creative ways to express themselves, tools that could help people who are in treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs) avoid using drugs or alcohol again. One of the most used art therapy techniques for working with substance abuse patients is a five-part project called The First Step Series. This activity was developed to guide participants towards recognizing the need for change, and to help them feel empowered about making those changes. Patients are asked to create five art pieces that relate to their experience with substance abuse.

Who is Right for Art Therapy?

In these treatments, patients go beyond simply listening to music to engage emotions, motivations, and barriers to recovery through lyrics and melody (American Music Therapy Association, 2014). CAM includes art therapy for addiction diverse treatments, such as art therapy, music therapy, hypnotherapy, acupuncture, and herbal remedies. Art therapy with a licensed art therapist is not only reserved for those with artistic inclinations.

By spending a few minutes to focus on an art project, people will gain a sense of accomplishment and perhaps some insight into their thoughts and feelings. Each of these art projects is a great part of a journey toward recovery and can be completed in a residential treatment center. If you or a loved one are suffering with substance abuse or addiction and want further help, Contact Steps Recovery Centers.

Traditional Therapies vs. Expressive Therapies

The box can also be a simple cardboard box or a box the individual has an attachment to, such as a small jewelry box. Art therapy takes place in any setting where people are in need of mental healing. In fact, there are no set rules to what defines art therapy, but the overarching theme is that it will express creativity.

As they fill the jar with these emotion-evoking items, they’ll remember positive moments in their lives and bring up good sentiments. Unfortunately, adults are the population most likely to dismiss art therapy. However, anyone who has tried art therapy will likely tell you that none of that is true.

Art Therapy for Addiction

The activity starts with a guided meditation, where participants close their eyes and clear their minds. The activity leader explains the feeling of isolation or overwhelmingness and how light can be a guide back to feelings of hope. The lighthouse activity has participants visualize being lost at sea and using the idea of a lighthouse as a point of guidance. This project is ideal for individuals who may feel lost, overwhelmed, and even isolated. The lighthouse activity is designed to give participants hope for their future. The participants will put together inspirational words or phrases that they feel define their core values.

art therapy substance abuse

For example, there can be moments of happiness, even when someone is feeling very depressed. There can be moments of peace, even while someone still feels overwhelmingly anxious. As of late, adult coloring books have been on the market to encourage relaxation during times of stress. These coloring books encourage adults to focus on the present moment, using it as a means to detach from unpleasant thoughts. Despite the connection between coloring and stress reduction, experts do not consider it art therapy.

Sometimes, when a person is in recovery from a substance use disorder, living with anxiety or depression, or working to heal from trauma, words aren’t enough. Often, there are emotions felt that are strong and pervasive yet seem to remain out of reach for a person trying to verbalize them. This may happen because there is such a mixture of feelings that they can’t be separated into specific, rigid categories. Furthermore, people are usually able to feel a range of different emotions at the same time.

art therapy substance abuse

As participants create their beads, they’ll be reminded of the meaning of mindfulness and how they can help them refocus their mind and practice mindfulness—and even some meditation. If you are seeking treatment, please do not hesitate to contact Sage Neuroscience. We believe in treating your unique mental and physical health needs with the goal of helping you find balance in your body, mind and soul. Art therapy has always been an effective coping mechanism for distress, similar to music, cooking, dancing, and writing as therapy. Seeking treatment from experienced rehab and recovery professionals can increase your odds of kicking your old habits and preventing relapse in the future.