Creative arts therapy is a powerful tool for people in recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction. Addiction is often a symptom of unprocessed emotions or trauma that the person uses drugs or alcohol to escape. Recovery requires the hard work of facing those experiences and emotions and learning how to manage them in a healthy way. Integrating creative arts into recovery helps participants process emotions and thoughts that may be too painful to communicate directly.
What is Creative Arts Therapy?
Also called expressive arts therapy, creative arts therapy takes place in a supportive setting under the guidance of a creative arts therapist. Using different art forms, creative arts therapies promote healing and growth, enhancing the social and psychological well-being of participants. Creative art therapy disciplines include music, visual arts, writing, dance/movement, drama or psychodrama, and play. Creative arts therapy is a way to through artistic self-expression.
Types of Creative Art Therapy
- Music Therapy – may involve performing or listening to music, musical improvisation, discussing lyrics, songwriting, discussing music and imagery, dancing, or learning through music
- Visual Arts Therapy – may involve painting, drawing, sculpting, finger painting, sketching, scribble drawing, mindful doodling, origami, working with clay, collage, ceramics, mandalas, coloring, or photography
- Drama or Psychodrama Therapy – may involve role-playing, storytelling, drama exercises, puppetry, improvisations, enactment, or theater games
- Bibliotherapy or Writing Therapy – may involve writing or reading expressive works such as poetry, narratives, fictional stories, humorous stories, dialogues, stories, or journals
- Dance/Movement Therapy – may involve dance, mirroring or echoing another person’s movements, jumping to rhythms, or using movement metaphors
- Play Therapy – may involve using art, building blocks, board games, puppet play, card games, strategy games like checkers or chess, tea party play, doll play, LEGO play, sand tray play, or active games like hide-go-seek
An integrative approach is when a therapist uses two or more creative arts therapies together.
Creative Arts Therapies and Addiction Recovery
Creative arts therapies, in conjunction with a comprehensive addiction treatment program, provide beneficial holistic aspects of the recovery process. Some individuals suffering from addiction find deep-seated emotions or past traumas too painful to talk about. Others have lost their sense of emotional awareness. It is impossible for them to describe or even identify emotions experienced by themselves or others. Creative arts therapies provide a way for them to express their emotions without having to speak about them. It helps people heal by giving them a way to go deep inside themselves, reflect, and find ways to make changes for the better.
The Benefits of Creative Arts Therapies
Many studies support the benefits of using creative arts therapies. Research shows expressive art therapies boost mood, improve mental skills, and increase self-awareness. They reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, boost self-esteem, and encourage healthy coping skills while providing a means of positive engagement and self-expression. Creative arts therapies can reduce symptoms of trauma and assist in processing traumatic events. They can help people improve their social skills, communication skills, and social bonding.
Help is Available
Addiction to drugs or alcohol can affect anyone. If you or a loved one needs help with overcoming the hold of addiction, reach out to English Mountain Recovery, located in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Our professionals will guide you through your recovery, using a combination of evidence-based addiction treatments, creative arts therapies, equine therapy, and 12-Step philosophy. Now is the right time to take the first step.