Art Therapy for Addiction: Benefits, Techniques, How to Find a Therapist

Expressive arts therapists are proficient in interpreting creative expression, rather than arts practitioners who have trained in a specific form of therapy. In this article, we will discuss expressive arts therapy by explaining the interventions used and the difference between expressive arts therapy and creative arts therapies. You will be introduced to expressive arts therapy techniques and ideas for your psychotherapy and counseling sessions, both with individual adults and groups. Art therapy encompasses a variety of practices that are beneficial for those in rehabilitation. It can be clay molding, painting, drawing, sculpting, carving, and the list goes on.

  • Relapsing occurs when people return to using substances, often to numb themselves from these common stressors and often under the false belief that once the stress has passed, they can return to sobriety.
  • Some people believe that art therapy is the province of children, and that most adults would balk at the suggestion of making art in sessions.
  • Apply pigment to a mirror or window, and let your brushstrokes mingle with whatever’s already gracing your uncanny canvas — be it a snowy day or your own reflection.
  • Negative, judgmental thoughts can cloud the mind, creating a harsh environment in an individual’s head and hindering recovery.
  • This book will really appeal to practicing psychotherapists who want to understand how to incorporate expressive arts techniques into their existing approach.

Art therapy can be powerful in motivating and encouraging people to continue their recovery journey from substance abuse. This book will really appeal to practicing psychotherapists who want to understand how to incorporate expressive arts techniques into their existing approach. This exercise should begin with a brief mindful breathing exercise for each participant to relax and register their stress levels. Then, encourage them to make marks with colors that represent their feelings and draw and paint their problems away. Photo therapy can enhance clients’ appreciation of their environment and what they love about their daily life.

Make an ephemeral artwork

In fact, studies have shown that art as a way to recover from SUD can be incredibly effective. For people with mental health issues and SUD, art can be a critical component of a recovery toolkit. It can also help your mental health professional better understand you and help you navigate toward a brighter future.

  • Try our Self-Love Journal worksheet, which provides 10 journal prompts for those clients needing to cultivate self-compassion.
  • Masks and puppets can also be used to explore roles and express difficult feelings rather than participating in active role-play if a client is uncomfortable expressing themselves directly.
  • This presence in art history is one of the characteristics contributing to the effectiveness of the box as a tool for art therapy” (p. 88).
  • Take inspiration from folk art and create an altar honoring a unique relationship between you and another person, living or not.
  • Kintsugi (or Kintsukuroi, which means “golden repair”) is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with precious metals, creating reconstructed pieces with seams of gold.

There are a thousand ways to make visual art and each form can provide a fun and engaging form of therapy. There are so many benefits to art therapy, it’s easy to see why the field is growing. While it is possible to include art in your practice if you aren’t a professional art therapist, it’s important to ensure you have training on art therapy and how to use art effectively. They offer a simple, accessible prompt that can elicit so much meaning. Bridge drawings make excellent art therapy activities for adults because they can help with processing problematic situations and difficult life transitions. The client has control over the art-making process and the art will take them where they need to go.

Trauma Recovery Avocado Model

There’s something about the crayon’s blunt tip and uneven method of coloring that is at once frustrating and liberating. Yes, it’s nearly impossible to color in a space without it looking patchy. Allow your artistic imperfections to float to the surface and learn to cherish every human error in your creation. Whatever work you create will be distinctly yours, even if it’s not quite museum-worthy.

  • Think of the societal and self-imposed pressures you feel on a day-to-day basis, the personal traits you see as faults, the natural slips you see as errors.
  • Glue the phrases onto the cardboard to create a collage of positive, self-healing words.
  • For many containment art directives, the process of building the box from scratch can have immense therapeutic value, in and of itself.
  • Any skill level of artistry easily allows the participant to accomplish Zentangle—to achieve something in a thoughtful and healing format.

Feel free to use images and words to recreate the layers you envision when you think of yourself. Sometimes, however, instead of using color to transform our current state of mind, it’s helpful to take a moment to delve deep into the color you’re currently experiencing. Working within your current emotional state can help you make sense of why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling and realize that, perhaps, it’s not such a bad place to be. Instead of spending the majority of your time on an actual painting, why not focus a little of that attention on crafting an alternative paintbrush all your own?

Expressive Arts Florida Institute

Give them a moment to reflect on what activities, people, or things help them feel good. These can be as simple as notes on scraps of paper that mention goals the person wants to achieve or affirmations that evoke positive emotions. Also, I re-imagined some of the traditional games for the purpose of mental relaxation. Other art therapy exercises for mental health involve sculpting, acting, dancing, but mostly, creating something new, validating and accepting your emotions and moving on. Creative arts therapies include art therapy, dance therapy, music therapy, drama therapy, and writing therapy.

recovery painting ideas

You may have experienced isolation from your family that is difficult to discuss. These situations can be hard to put into words, but rather than talk it out and risk giving inaccurate descriptions, you can draw it out. If drawing doesn’t do it for you, you can use paint, sculpture, or even dance to depict your emotions. No matter the feelings, experiences, traumas, or mental state, you have the ability to express them through art. Art therapy is a valuable and effective form of treatment for addiction, as it allows you to express your emotions healthily and creatively. It has many benefits, including providing an outlet for self-expression and helping with personal discovery.

Kintsugi Print, Broken and Beautiful, Religious Artwork, Wall Decor, Body Image Art, Nursery Art

Next, clients are asked to draw a bridge across the page, drawing their bridge over a body of water. They are also asked to place themselves somewhere in their drawing. In 50 Substance Abuse Group Therapy Activities for Recovery this art therapy directive, you can draw upon elements of the classic bridge drawing above while also “diving deeper” into the metaphor (please excuse the water pun).

recovery painting ideas

You can write the person’s name on a slip of paper and include it in the box if preferred, and the name can be removed and exchanged if needed. The act of making the box will bring up happy memories of whomever the box is for, as well as help you physically work toward a place of forgiveness. Think of the societal and self-imposed pressures you feel on a day-to-day basis, the personal traits you see as faults, the natural slips you see as errors. Choose one of these things and give yourself, in ornamental detail, permission to do just that. Turning one simple defeat into an accomplishment can minimize feelings of self-hatred, allowing you to achieve more of your important goals. Now switch to a pen and begin drawing a “tangle,” a series of patterns and shapes around your “string” and voila!