What is expressive art therapy?
Art therapy is a form of therapy which aims to capitalize on the contemplative aspects of art; not just in terms of the message that the art form is trying to convey, but what the piece of artwork reveals about its creator. Art therapists use this revelatory aspect to enable their patients to recover from all kinds of negative experiences. As a recognized recovery treatment since the 1940s, it has grown in scope and popularity in recent years, and it’s now a widely accepted form of alternative therapy for recovering addicts.
The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) specialize in using art forms to help people to recover from trauma and addictions and, as a national organization, sets the standards for professional competency.
Expressive art therapy and drug rehab
Using art as a therapy was based on the premise that when a person is experiencing problems in their life, they often have a range of intense emotions hidden inside which they find difficult to bring to the surface. People who are in the process of recovering from drug and alcohol addiction or some kind of trauma or abuse can use the self-expression of creating some form of art to discover and uncover their own hidden issues. Allowing a person to have free expression while creating a drawing, painting, sculpture or other form of art gives them the opportunity to let go of feelings that they may not even realize exist. Art therapists are trained to identify all kinds of nonverbal metaphors and symbols in artwork, and thus unlock some of the feelings that may come to the surface.
During rehabilitation from substance abuse, the key to modifying their future behavior is the ability to understand their feelings and how those feelings impact their actions. Therefore, art therapy is offered in conjunction with counseling sessions and other forms of psychotherapy.
How can it help addicts?
Many rehab centers have found that offering expressive art therapy for addiction issues seems to work very well. Not only has it been used with considerable success in all kinds of wellness centers and hospitals, but it has also proved an invaluable treatment tool in clinics and drug rehabilitation facilities. In particular, it has achieved great success when used to treat younger adults who are trying to address substance abuse issues, with art therapists claiming that art not only helps addicts to discover and face their own individual problems, but can help to develop social skills, can decrease levels of stress and can be useful for teaching self-management techniques. It’s also been attributed to helping people of all ages to resolve conflicts in relationships, recover from all kinds of abuse, deal with emotional issues and overcome the pain of grief and trauma.
What are the advantages of expressive art therapy?
Many rehab facilities now incorporate expressive arts, and addiction treatment using this kind of therapy is proving to be beneficial in helping people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol to understand more about why they have developed their addiction. This form of treatment is successful, as it’s believed to bridge the gap between the conscious and the unconscious mind, and not only releases those thoughts and feelings that are locked within us, but brings greater focus to areas that cause us concern. The main focus is on the process of creating the art itself, which gives the artist the chance to discover new things about themselves that may not come to light in more traditional talking therapies. This kind of therapy is suitable for people of all ages, and can enhance emotional, spiritual, cognitive and physical well-being.
Expressive art therapy in Florida
Here at Luxury Beach Rehab we offer expressive art therapy as part of our holistic approach to addiction therapy, combined with a professional and caring approach for both clients and loved ones.