Various activities that take place during art therapy

Art therapy is a practice intended to improve mental health and treat psychological disorders. It is rooted in the belief that creative expression fosters healing and mental wellbeing.

Over the centuries, people have relied on the arts to communicate, express themselves, and heal. It wasn’t until the 1940s that art therapy became a formalized program.

As doctors noticed that it was common for people with mental illnesses to express themselves through drawings and art, they started looking into how art could be used as a healing tool. It has since become an integral component of therapeutic methods and has been used for assessments and treatment.

Art therapy is particularly insightful because the process of creation is often just as instructive as the outcome. Nevertheless, anxious people may feel an intense need to complete the creative process to create something that will appeal to more than just themselves.

It is essential to discover self-awareness and healthy coping mechanisms when dealing with anxiety, and art therapy is an effective way to cope with some of the symptoms and experiences of anxiety.

Here are five art therapy activities designed to support people who are experiencing anxiety.

  • The panic book

Those with panic disorder can become frightened by the idea that they may suffer from a panic attack. Often, the triggers of panic attacks are unknown, while sometimes they are known.

The panic book exercise encourages participants to create a book containing images that will help them remain calm during stressful times and refocus their minds towards something more positive.

  • Visualizing what anxiety looks like

The first step to controlling and treating anxiety is understanding and visualizing it. By presenting anxiety as an abstract concept, person, or monster, participants can develop methods to recognize anxiety as it arises and handle it appropriately. Participants can accomplish just that in this activity.

  • Visual starter

Anxieties associated with creating art can make art therapy counterproductive. This visual starter exercise helps to circumvent this, allowing individuals to begin without feeling self-conscious. Starters can be adapted to specific topics or be used for creating a healthy stress-relieving environment.

Using art therapy as an effective mental disorder treatment method

Art is one of the most relaxing and inspiring activities people engage in, whether they create it themselves or observe it. Artistic expression, however, provides several benefits beyond relaxation and enjoyment.

Several studies have shown that art therapy can be an effective way to treat depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and also some forms of phobias. With it, you can express your emotions without words, process your feelings, and find relief.

The term “art therapy” is a general term that refers to the application of visual arts in a therapeutic environment. The concept of art therapy generally revolves around the art process rather than its final form.

It is how you feel as you make your art and what you learn about yourself that matters most.

The benefits of art therapy include a safe, non-judgmental environment in which to explore your interpretation of it.

Depending on your level of experience, this may take place in an open studio setting with some guidance or in a trained, structured class where art skills are taught. By actively participating in creative activities, you will gain more focus, relaxation, and the ability to express yourself.

As a treatment for mental illness, art therapy uses the creative process of making art as a safe way to express inner experiences, create awareness, and facilitate personal change.

Along with creating art, the art therapist offers relaxation techniques, visualization, and guided imagery during therapy sessions.

By doing this, you can cope better with stress and difficult circumstances, and return to feeling normal sooner. An art therapist offers a safe, supportive space for an individual to deal with difficult emotions.

Benefits of art therapy activities for mental health

Art therapy can be used to complement traditional forms of mental health treatment. Its goals include managing behavior, processing feelings, and decreasing anxiety and stress.

  • Self-discovery: Exposing and acknowledging your hidden emotions can help you discover new insights into yourself.
  • Self-esteem: By completing the process, you will feel a sense of accomplishment which is great for developing your self-esteem and confidence.
  • Stress relief: Mentally and physically, anxiety, depression, or traumatic experiences can make you tired and exhausted. You can reduce your stress and tension through creative expression.

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.