What is Art Therapy?
Art therapy is a type of psychological treatment where artwork is created in a controlled setting. The process of creating art by itself can be cathartic to many individuals, making art therapy a calming type of treatment. Also, some people have difficulty expressing emotions and art that is developed can show emotions through illustrations and colors. People who are in art therapy work on artwork alone, but generally patients will work in a studio with others. A variety of mediums are used in this treatment, depending on what materials are most comfortable for the patient to use. Paint and drawing materials are commonly used, because these are the easiest materials to create illustrations. Clay and other sculpting materials are used sometimes too.
Types of Drug Addiction Treated Using Art Therapy
All types of drug addiction can be treated with art therapy. This is true whether an addict has been using for six months or ten years. This is because there are usually underlying psychological problems that lead an addict to use drugs and alcohol in the first place. Art therapy brings these problems to light where addicts can start to understand their feelings and actions through the images that they create in their artwork. This understanding is commonly apparent when addicts first start treatment in a recovery center or through a private addiction specialist. Sometimes addicts know of these problems, but in some cases art therapy brings out deep repressed emotions and memories.
Benefits of Art Therapy in Treating Drug Addiction
Art therapy is very successful in treating drug addiction for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons it benefits addicts is because it helps to calm the patient. Many people find the creation of artwork calming and this is true of addicts as well. This calming sensation if most important when recovery is first started, because withdrawal and the urge to continue using is strong during this time. Another reason art therapy is beneficial is because it helps addicts express emotions that they may not wish to talk about verbally. Art creations show these emotions and this can be clearly seen by counselors and doctors at treatment centers. Addicts are able to take their minds off of their addiction when creating artwork during art therapy as well. The recovery from addiction is a long and intense process that can be trying and tiring to an addict. Art therapy allows for a break from traditional therapy, and this allows for a recharging for the next day of treatment.