In the broadest terms, “art” is a form of communication. Art is an expression of thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and observations, no matter what form it takes. Art is music, dancing, painting, drawing, pottery, sewing, photography, sculpting, poetry—it is all-encompassing. At Westwind Recovery®, we understand that sometimes it can be difficult to find the words to express your emotions, so we offer an art therapy program led by trained professionals to help you find a way to express yourself.
If you are struggling with substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or any combination of these conditions, Westwind Recovery® has a program that can help. Our mission is to help every person who comes to us overcome their symptoms so that they may lead healthy, fulfilling lives. Call 855.340.8832 to find out how we can help you or your loved one.
What Is Art Therapy for Addiction Recovery?
There is a distinction between using art in therapy and art therapy. Using art in therapy usually refers to using art to produce a desired result. Conversely, art therapy is designed around using the creative process as a healing tool. Art therapy is led by a professional therapist who has had specialized training. Often, clients can be fearful of the process because they do not feel that they have artistic ability. However, one need not be artistic to reap the benefits of art therapy. Again, the healing comes from the process, not the work itself.
For most people, addiction is a symptom of a larger issue. Many who suffer from substance use disorders have deeper underlying issues, including trauma, stress, illness, chronic pain, and mental health disorders, called co-occurring disorders. In these instances, individuals have come to rely on drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism for their unresolved pain. Especially in the early stages of recovery, many people struggle to communicate. Art therapy provides the opportunity to explore thoughts and feelings and find non-verbal ways to express them.
At Westwind Recovery®, we understand that those struggling with addiction have often lost the ability to identify their true thoughts and feelings. Our art therapy program offers clients a way to find self-expression and emotional release without relying on verbal communication. Some of the activities available in art therapy include:
- Creative writing
- Scrapbooking and collage
- Digital art
Art therapy can involve a specific assignment where you are asked to answer a particular question through your art or be more abstract and open to exploration. The overall goal is to promote healthy functioning by resolving issues, experiences, thoughts, and feelings that contributed to your addiction.
The Advantages of Art Therapy for Addiction Recovery
Art therapy in addiction treatment can be one-to-one with a therapist or occur in a group setting. An essential element in group art therapy is the sharing process. When clients share their work and the story behind it, it helps others relate and share their experiences. This giving and receiving of support are beneficial to all.
Art therapy for addiction recovery inherently incorporates elements of the 12 steps, such as self-reflection. Art therapy makes you feel empowered by solving problems without the use of drugs or alcohol. Among the many advantages to using art therapy for addiction recovery are:
- Provides a safe emotional outlet
- Helps cope with feelings in non-destructive ways
- Provides insight to repressed feelings and thoughts
- Decreases denial of addiction
- Builds self-confidence
- Promotes self-discovery and self-reflection
Art therapy encourages the release of dopamine, which helps us feel pleasure. In this way, it helps enhance recovery from anxiety and depression. Overall, art therapy strengthens your self-esteem, enables you to work through trauma and unresolved issues, and improves communication skills, all of which help restore your identity as you work through recovery.
Contact Westwind Recovery® to Learn More About Art Therapy for Addiction Recovery
Traditional therapies for addiction have numerous benefits. At Westwind Recovery®, we believe incorporating holistic therapies with evidence-based conventional treatments provides the most comprehensive approach to successful addiction recovery. In addition to our art therapy program, we offer adventure therapy, music therapy, yoga, and more.
To learn more about all of your treatment options at Westwind Recovery®, contact us at 855.340.8832.
Dr. Deena is the Chief Clinical Officer of Westwind Recovery®, an award-winning outpatient treatment center in Los Angeles where she oversees the clinical and administrative program and treatment methods. Dr. Deena is a doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker since 1993. LCSW #20628. Originally from the East Coast, Dr. Deena has worked running treatment centers, worked as a therapist in psychiatric hospitals as well as school settings and currently has a thriving private practice in the LA area. Dr. Deena has appeared regularly on the Dr. Phil Show as an expert since 2003. She has also been featured on many other TV shows, podcasts and has contributed to written publications as well as podcasts.