Individual and Social Level Benefits of Art Therapy for Addiction Treatment

Addiction to drugs and alcohol doesn’t just happen because a person really wanted that particular addictive substance. Often the substance is one way to cover up one or more psychological problems or past trauma.

Therefore, substance abuse recovery involves so much more than just the clearance of alcohol or drugs from the system.

Successfully overcoming the condition of addiction needs an understanding of how the addiction started, what are the motivating factors for recovery, and any potential reasons to hinder the healing process.

Art therapy can play a role here. Human minds have a tendency to imagine and wander with free associations when we start to create, and often we can even decipher the symbolism in each creation until we come back to it.

Art therapy serves as a vehicle for the psychological component of recovery by providing an emotional outlet and a means of self-expression. Feelings or experiences that are too shameful or painful to talk about can be expressed through paint, clay, ink or other media.

When combined with other recovery services, such as detox, individual therapy, support groups, and family counseling, art therapy can be a powerful way to promote the healing process.

According to the American Art Therapy Association (AATA), art therapy is a mental health modality that can help the individual in a variety of important ways:

  • By resolving emotional conflicts
  • By building self-esteem
  • By encouraging self-awareness
  • By reducing anxiety
  • By developing social skills

A key objective for art therapy is to facilitate he patient to return to healthy functioning. This could be at different levels: emotional, cognitive or social, emotional.

The therapy may be especially beneficial in situation where the individuals going through the treatment had experienced a traumatic episode, such as childhood abuse, sexual assault, violence, or a natural disaster.

The visual media of art gives an opportunity to explore and release the tensions and fears around memories and experiences that are too powerful to confront directly. Creative activity makes room for the individual to regain a sense of control. In this sense, art can play the part of a coping mechanism to handle the challenges that come with the rehabilitation process.

At a personal level, art therapy can be a process that introduces the pleasures of creative activity and accomplishment.

On a social level, art sessions can act as a type of group therapy by forming bonds among the participants. As a group of individuals collaborate on guided projects, they can learn and appreciate new ways of coping, share their experiences with therapy, and practice the skills of teamwork.

How Art Therapy Is Used As An Effective Addiction Treatment Method

What is Art Therapy?

 Art therapy combines the creative methods and psychotherapy. Through a guided process, it facilitates self-exploration and understanding. Art therapy uses color, imagery and shape as part of this imaginative therapeutic process to express feelings and thoughts that might be difficult to articulate.

How is Art Therapy Used in Addiction Treatment?

Art therapy has been shown to be a very effective method in the addiction and substance abuse recovery process.

A number of drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation facilities now offer individual and group therapy sessions by using this creative method. With the help of trained mental health professionals and addiction specialists, a range of therapies can be deployed to help residents in their healing journey.

How Art Therapy Helps Residents in Rehab Centres

Art therapy plays an important part in treating drug and alcohol addiction treatment in many rehab facilities.

Extensive research validates its capacity to teach patients calming techniques, improve regulation of moods, increase positive self-image through self-expression, and promote healthy self-reflection.

By participating in art therapy, residents are centered and able to function more easily. It’s a healthy and uplifting way to stay focused on recovery, as well as feel some peace of mind.

Combining the practice of art with an intervention with a qualified art therapist or art psychotherapist is much more effective in reaching the desired objectives and outcomes.

One focuses on the psychological aspects, the relationship, and the art object and the other may have more focus on the art outcomes. Experienced therapists play a significant role by not only knowing the technique but also just what to say and do to help someone feel the real benefits that the therapy can provide.

How Rehab Patients Can Continue With Art Therapy Post-Rehab

The key function of art therapy is to replace negative coping techniques with positive ones.

After a resident of a rehab centre is discharged and goes home, they should be encouraged to continue practicing the art techniques and integrate them into their daily routine and aftercare plan.

This is a supportive alternate option for those who were consuming alcohol or using drugs at a certain time of day, such as after work or on the weekends. They can also schedule time at night to create art as a way to calm themselves down or take an art class during the weekends.



Drawing and painting are very good practices for many reasons. The materials which are utilized in creating this art projects can be easily gotten. The vision of the artist is under the full control of the artist, and this mode of artistic process, is very beneficial for the mental health of the individual. For those who need a new hobby, drawing and painting is a beneficial one to take on.

Getting the materials which you need to commence painting and drawing are very easy to access. One of the pleasant things about painting and drawing as a hobby is, there is total liberty and control when it comes to what the artist wants to take on. Most artists describe the process of drawing and painting as one which is fully free because they have a say over how the project would run.

Mental health experts and counsellors have advised that in order for an individual to remain balanced, taking on an artistic hobby could come in handy. Due to the fact that the artist is in full control of what their artistic thought pattern can process, they have the freedom of expressing themselves how they desire, and also determine the length of the project.

Such practices are beneficial for having a sound cognitive behavioural thought and analytic mind. There is also a calm effect which it has on the artist as well. When you look about how easy you can access materials which you would use for drawing and painting, you would come to terms with the fact that there are amazing mental health benefits which comes with this act.

There is a large amount of benefits when it comes to drawing and painting, as regards the creative process. Mental health professionals have researched and stated that, the creative pattern for any form of art, has a healing and expanding effect on the brain.

Due to the freedom and the control which this exerts, the creative pattern allows the brain pathways to remain unlocked, thereby giving room for enhanced creativity. Hence, this creative process gives the individual a sound thought pattern which gives them a renewed perspective about life.


For an addict in search of a treatment plan and therapy, drawing and painting is known to be a reliable addiction therapy. Drawing and painting involves an expression of ideas and it is a way of communicating thoughts and information without the use of words.

It is a useful therapy tool particularly when the addicts find it difficult to express themselves their feelings and problems verbally to their therapist.

In a way, it helps them convey their burdens even better than words.

Drawing and painting helps the therapist to get a visual representation of the addict’s mental issues and better help them in their task of providing treatment. Over time, this form of therapy have been used along with other normal addiction treatment in the treatment of many mental disorders. It has also been found effective in the treatment of substance abuse disorder and addiction.
In the process of drawing and painting as a therapy, addicts may be asked to reproduce paintings of famous people their artwork and also graphically express their current state of emotion. Also, they may be asked to use drawing instrument and materials they are not normally used to draw and by doing so, it helps them give in to some of the behaviors that comes with addiction.
Another way this form of therapy is used is by asking addicts to use their non-dominant hand to draw and this helps them to change their view about life and not to stick to the one the act of addiction has brought their way.

Also, when addicts express their feelings through drawing and painting, they are able to overcome fear and the negative cravings that plagues them. They learn to channel this fears into something positive capable of facilitating their recovery from addiction.
An art therapist that is trained and experienced has the ability to interpret and analyze the withdrawn feelings and emotions that is shown through the addict’s artwork. This helps to direct the therapist on the right addiction treatment to give to the addict.
It is important to note that using drawing and painting as a therapy does not require addicts to be talented or gifted. Even if they do not have a knack for art, they are still able to benefit from the therapy.

They are not assessed on how excellent their artwork is, but the main aim is to apply the knowledge gotten from this form of art in their addiction treatment.

Drawing and Painting as Therapy

therapeutic drawing paintingOne excellent method of caring for yourself is drawing or painting. This may not seem like the most obvious way of balancing yourself and caring for your mental health, but statistically speaking, it will do you a world of good. Artistic projects in general have been found to alleviate symptoms of mental disorders and addictions through their calming effects, the way they organize a person’s thoughts and the feelings of accomplishment they give the artist.

One of the most important mental health aspects of drawing or painting is the calming effect it has on the artist. There is nothing stressful about creating art casually. Even if you dislike the finished product, it is the journey you take to get there that is meaningful. Many artists describe the feeling of art creation as a type of Zen experience, where they are executing a task intuitively instead of logistically. This process creates incredible relaxation for the artist.

This type of artistic process is also very good for organizing a person’s thoughts. In part, this aspect is aided by the calming effect art creation has on an artist. The creative process opens the artist’s mind and relaxes it, preparing it for healthy critical thinking using many parts of the brain. The artist is then free to use their art creation to express how they feel about the mental discoveries they make. For example, many people who are struggling with addiction depict their addiction as an outside entity in their art. This is their way of connecting with the idea that addiction is not part of their identity.

And lastly, painting and drawing can aid your mental health by giving you feelings of accomplishment that you have something worthwhile to show for your time. Your personal art creations are always worthwhile because they are meant to serve as reminders of the way you felt and the personal discoveries you made while you were executing the artistic process. If you are looking for an easy, accessible personal therapy, consider the creative hobbies of painting or drawing!

Creativity to End Addiction and Mental Disorders

creativity end addiction disorderThe creative process is a valuable one, not just for achieving important works of art, but for the effect that the process has on the human mind. Without even exerting cognitive effort, the creative process opens up our minds and gives us the ability to examine our lives from new perspectives. Psychologist, addiction specialists and mental health counselors highly recommend that anyone struggling with a mental disorder or a case of addiction engage in the creative process to reap its mental health benefits.
The reason that the creative process is so beneficial to the human psyche is that it allows us to engage in a part of our brain that often gets neglected. Every person is instilled with creative capacity. Some people only use it when necessary while others make an entire lifestyle out of it, but every single person possesses this ability. Deliberately taking on a creative project may be in the form of drawing, painting, collaging, ceramics, music composition, writing or a great many other artistic ventures. Any one of them connects a person to their creative abilities and enables their expression of them.
This built in creative nature is not accidental. It is a healing center in the brain. People only willingly engage in creative projects when they are inspired. Even if the inspiration is minimal, for example, when shortening the process of a job duty at an unfavorable work position. It still always involves the innovative capacity of the brain. Therefore, using the creative part of the brain is always beneficial to the individual because it is an optimistic act. Even artists who suffer from depression and create depressing art are still ultimately acting in optimism because it requires optimism to believe that creating art will benefit anyone at all.
The truth about the benefits of the creative process to mental disorders and addiction is in the studies. If you are struggling with the negative effects of an addiction or a mental disorder, considering taking up a creative hobby, such as drawing or painting!

Drawing and Painting as Creative Therapy

creative therapy drawing paintingThere is an enormous amount of benefit to the creative process. Psychologists and mental health experts have discovered that the creative process for any art form, be it visual, literary or performance art, has a therapeutic and expanding effect on the brain. Because of the freedom and control that the creative process allows the brain, doors are unlocked in the mind that have remained closed even through other therapeutic ventures. The creative process has a specific, profound effect on a person’s thought patterns that allows them a fresh perspective on life as a whole.

Now consider how easy it is to initiate a creative process such as drawing and painting. Serious drawers and painters invest in quality canvases, pencils, brushes and paints, but the fact of the matter is, either of these two hobbies can begin with little more than a piece of paper and a basic art utensil. The concept of drawing and painting is incredibly simple: replicate an image with your art materials or conceive an original image with your art materials. Any level of intellect can grasp this process and it does not require any particular level of skill. Plus, the materials one needs to begin are available at any major grocery store.

When you think about how readily available creative activities such as drawing and painting are, and when you think about all the incredible mental health benefits they come with, there is simply no good reason not to engage in one, the other or both. By engaging routinely in the processes of drawing or painting, one can fully express themselves through art, reconnect with their inner child, access parts of their brain that have previously been closed off and resolve issues in their life in a more mentally healthy way. There is even evidence of drawing and painting serving as treatment for addiction and mental disorders through its innate therapeutic qualities. If you are looking for a way to stay busy and to experience a therapeutic process, consider drawing or painting as your next hobby.

The Importance of Getting in Touch with Your Inner Child

drawing painting inner childCounselors and mental health specialist often talk about the elusive inner child that we all have inside of us. The idea behind the inner child is that we are able to connect to the perspective on life we had as children. Recalling this innocent nature within ourselves is beneficial to ourselves and those we effect. But just why is the inner child important and how do we access it?

The reason that every person’s inner child should matter to them is because there are sound psychological reasons why people should never lose touch with this part of themselves. There are many ways that our brains grow and develop to broaden our perspective on the world and expand our scope as we age. However, as children, we are arguably more in touch with ourselves than any other time in our lives because we have not been influenced by outside factors yet. We are the most in touch with our own inherent qualities as children, and thus more mentally healthy and in tune with our own needs. Therefore, when we are able to access our own inner child, we recall truths about ourselves that we have since forgotten.

Psychologists recommend drawing and coloring as one universal way of getting in touch with your inner child. This is because most of us, at least in North American society, were given basic drawing and coloring materials as children to occupy our time and our minds. Children naturally have large, limitless imaginations and they spend a majority of their time expressing them through pretend and through art. Therefore, sitting down to engage in drawing or painting as adults naturally channels the memory of creating art as children. This simple act can actually make us recall things we have forgotten, open compartments of our minds that have been sealed off and let us access valuable, innocent thought and behavioral patterns that we have long since forgotten about.

Drawing and Painting

painting drawingDrawing and painting are exceptionally good hobbies to practice for a number of reasons. The materials to create these types of art projects are very accessible, the artistic vision is under total control of the artist and this type of artistic process is very good for people’s mental health. If you are considering a new hobby, reach for the pencils and the brushes and begin creating art!
The materials you need to begin drawing and painting are very easy to find. Typically, for the basics, you do not need to look farther than the grocery superstore in your area, which is likely to carry, pencils, paper, erasers, canvasses, paints and brushes. If you do not have large grocery store, locate the nearest art supply store for the desired materials.
One of the most attractive things about drawing and painting as a hobby is the absolute freedom and control these projects give the artist. Many artists describe the artistic process as being totally liberating and freeing because it is a microcosm that they are in control of. The project can be whatever the artist wants or needs it to be, ranging from planned out in detail, to spontaneous, to abstract, to realistic, to colorful or to black and white.
Counselors and other mental health professionals highly recommend engaging in an artistic hobby in order to stay balanced. This is one particularly beneficial effect of painting and drawing. Because the artist is in total control of their artistic vision with the project, they are free to express themselves however they wish, and to pace the project however they choose. These practices are excellent for good cognitive behavioral thinking and analyzing, as well as having a calming effect on the artist.
For time well spent, consider taking up drawing or painting as a new hobby. It is easy to find an art class in practically any city or town if you desire outside instruction. Or, if you would prefer simply to experiment and develop your own style, do not hesitate to collect the necessary materials and get started!