When you decide to seek addiction treatment, Westwind Recovery® knows that there should be multiple therapeutic methods of treatment. One holistic therapy we offer is our art therapy program in Los Angeles.
Every person yearns to express themselves in some form, whether that form is through painting, sculpting, acting, cooking, or something entirely different. Art therapy allows you to find a way to express yourself in a healthy way that does not involve drugs. It will enable you to draw from your imagination and experiences to reveal parts of yourself that perhaps even you didn’t know you had.
What is Art Therapy?
Art therapy is a treatment tool currently being used as an alternative method to help people with addiction. It is primarily used as an avenue for self-expression and for a non-confrontational way of exploring personal feelings.
Part of the treatment of substance use disorders is processing some past trauma that happened earlier on in life. It also necessarily involves identifying and processing feelings of depression, grief, and any other intense emotional situations that may have pushed the person to resort to substances to relieve themselves of the emotional turmoil. The act of going through these memories and emotions, however, could be quite stressful for many.
Art therapy helps ease this stress by way of letting the person express their feelings by engaging in select art forms. The nature of the creative process allows people to get in touch with repressed memories and emotions with less emphasis on how these things made the person feel, as it is channeled through the art form. Once these emotions and memories are properly processed, patients could then move on to the next phase of their treatment.
Most people who engage in substance abuse admit that they do it because it gives them a momentary escape from the harsh reality of the world. Engaging in creativity also provides the same escape, as a person’s personal creativity takes over, they can disregard whatever it is that gives them stress, whether it be the harsh reality of the world or personal problems. This is why art therapy continues to be among the best forms of treatment around.
Common Types of Art Therapy
As there are numerous types of art forms that allow people to express emotions and thoughts that they have difficulty putting to words, art therapy also embraces varied forms of art as outlets for the patient.
The more common forms include:
- Drawing or painting
- Creating scrapbooks
- Writing journals, and even free-form poetry
Some of the more unique and complex forms include songwriting and creating mandala patterns. Creating mandala patterns reveal quite a lot about a person’s inner thoughts and feelings, as the patterns made by the patients seem to reflect whatever it is that they have kept locked away inside of them.
“Madala” is the Sanskrit word for wholeness or cosmos. These concepts embody the inclusion of everything into the whole, where everything exists in a balance with everything else.
This concept is taught to patients who create the mandala patterns because they are made to understand that the addiction they went through is a disruption of the whole, as the balance of the whole was lost when they started taking too much of the substance.
By understanding that the patterns in the mandala blend in seamlessly with each other, they start to understand how regaining and maintaining their balance will make them whole again.
Benefits of Art Therapy for Addiction
According to Michigan State University, art therapy has been around since the 1940s. At that time, two pioneers in the field used art therapy as a way to help their clients understand their feelings, thoughts, and experiences through imaginative expression. Since then, we have used art therapy in a range of fields, from addiction therapy to cancer treatments.
There are multiple benefits to an art therapy program, including:
- Decreased stress and anxiety
- Improved ability to handle pain
- More mental function
- Indicated to reduce depression
At Westwind Recovery®, we offer a variety of art therapies, such as drawing, painting, and photography. Each treatment allows you to express yourself either in a group or individually. This treatment will enable you to convey your feelings in ways that you may not be comfortable doing in a traditional therapy setting.
Another benefit of art therapy is that it teaches you stress relief techniques that you can take home with you. It gives you a hobby that you can fall back on if you are stressed or encounter triggers for your addiction. It also gives you a new self-image and promotes your wellness.
How Art Therapy Can Help You Evolve
An art therapy program in Los Angeles also expands your mind. You gain a deeper understanding of your issues, and it will help you resolve those problems. Westwind Recovery® provides an environment and the tools you need to be creative. You will have an outlet to engage in activities that interest you, whether that is music, drawing, or painting.
A peculiarity of engaging in artful creation is that it tends to take a lot out of the individual. This is because the creative process takes over the person and engages all of the senses relevant to the art form being created. This is why most artists say they are exhausted after completing their art.
As a benefit to people looking to recover from substance abuse, giving in to the creative process will also leave them quite drained for a while, but in a good way. The completion of the artform leaves a sense of accomplishment in the individual, allowing them to bask in their fulfillment.
For people recovering from an addiction, this is important because all of their energies were focused on the creative process, leaving very little for anything else, such as the urge to engage in bad habits.
Even when the treatment is done and the patient is well on their way to a full recovery, the creative process in them will continue to keep them preoccupied and inspired. Now, they have something to do which will leave them with a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. The beauty of art enjoyment is that it feeds itself, the more one appreciates the art form they engage in, the better they are at doing it.
Art Therapy for Addiction Treatment
Art therapy is an excellent tool, if you want to defeat your addiction, it needs to be used simultaneously with other therapies. Art therapy is not a primary treatment option. It is a useful supplement to many of our other options.
Some of the treatment options that we offer at Westwind Recovery® include:
We use many of these treatments in conjunction with the art therapy program to give you a complete treatment plan.
Choose Westwind Recovery®
Are you ready to begin the real battle of defeating your addiction? Choose Westwind Recovery® and learn more about the art therapy program in Los Angeles. We have used this program to help many people like you overcome their struggles. Contact us today to learn more about our addiction treatment programs in Los Angeles.
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.