Creative Expression’s Positive Impact on Wellness & Recovery


In this art therapy directive, you can draw upon elements of the classic bridge drawing above while also “diving deeper” into the metaphor (please excuse the water pun). According to an article published in the American Journal of Art Therapy (2001) on using boxes in art therapy, boxes are a promising therapy tool. In fact, Farrell-Kirk (2001) states that “the use of boxes to enclose and conceal contents, create a new realm of space, and unite opposites makes the box effective in therapy. Due to the symbolic value of these characteristics, the box has been utilized throughout art history.

  • The creative and artistic processes allow us to merge our emotional and our logical parts into one identity.
  • This therapy may also be helpful in building new skills to support recovery.
  • After playing with them, transition into a discussion about the fallibility of our senses and point of view.
  • While in recovery, many emotions, such as shame and guilt, will begin to emerge.

It’s often a painful and challenging process that fuels negativity and the resurgence of agonizing memories. For those who want to remove drug and alcohol dependency from their lives will find that, even after treatment, maintaining their mental health and avoiding triggers is a challenging, ongoing task. For those who struggle with drug or alcohol abuse, often times their initial use started as a form of self medication. Use art therapy to make something you can carry with you that will encourage you when you need it. Whether it’s a piece of jewelry, a keychain or clothing, you can add images, words or colors that remind you of how you want to feel. The simple act of drawing is in itself a peaceful activity, and zentangles have risen in popularity as a therapeutic use for many forms of mental challenges.

The Inner Voice Needs a Healthy Outlet

These can all be great opportunities to deepen the practice of coming back to breath after being pulled away. Group meditation may be guided by someone, or it may just be a group of individuals who gather to silently meditate together. Determine the duration of the meditation, and when finished, you all may decide to share your experience or takeaways. When the song is over, play it once or twice more, and see what you notice in the replays. We are here to provide assistance in locating an Ark Behavioral Health treatment center that may meet your treatment needs.

Psychodrama allows individuals in recovery to analyze past situations and learn healthy ways to manage difficult relationships and situations. Experiential therapy is client-centered and interventions should be linked to a person’s preferences. There are a variety of experiential therapy activities that can be used such as animal-assisted therapy, acting and role-playing, arts and crafts, music and dance and guided imagery techniques. Experiential therapy uses expressive techniques and activities to help adults re-experience and process situations from the past. As adults participate in the activities, they begin to identify and experience emotions linked with past experiences that may be negatively impacting them in the present day. As repressed emotions are released, individuals can experience positive feelings in the present.

Guiding Questions to Help Participants Process Their Emotions

A novelist in recovery said he believed drinking made him a better writer. He followed in the footsteps of literary heroes who drank too much and justified their habit by saying alcohol or other drugs helped them tap into their creative genius. Art therapy has become an extremely popular treatment tool, thanks in part to its ever-growing list of benefits.

Play therapy allows children to express themselves, to release powerful emotions and to act out challenging life experiences. Mental health clinicians use a client’s play for assessment purposes and to help them diagnose and understand problematic behaviors. Art therapy has proven to be useful in decreasing the symptoms of PTSD and depression. It promotes self-discovery and healing by helping individuals tap into their deepest emotions and subconscious thoughts in a safe, supportive setting. The artworks created help convey what the artist might find difficult to say out loud, making them feel heard and validated. When most people think of therapy they might picture meeting with a therapist in an office.

Art Projects Assist in Addiction Recovery

When the intent behind our art is self-expression, the value in the art becomes the emotional benefits. The process we go through to create our art, to transform a mental image into something physical, is a reflection of our thought processes. How many times in a day do you stop to consider what or how you are feeling? Much like paying attention to how we feel physically, the creative arts allow us to check in with our mental well-being and emotional state.

  • This art form is often used to relieve stress and relax the mind, making it a great tool for addiction recovery.
  • In fact, Farrell-Kirk (2001) states that “the use of boxes to enclose and conceal contents, create a new realm of space, and unite opposites makes the box effective in therapy.
  • After that, I encourage the client to draw symbols, images, shapes, words, etc. on paper that represent the parts of themselves that feel unresolved, AKA their “unfinished business”.
  • Participants can boost their self-esteem and create positive connections.
  • For many in addiction recovery, a coping mechanism can help individuals cope and deal with specific challenges.

Each of these art projects is a great part of a journey toward recovery and can be completed in a residential treatment center. If you or a loved one are suffering with substance abuse or addiction and want further help, Contact Steps Recovery Centers. For years, therapists have used art therapy to alleviate negative emotions and benefit the addiction recovery process. Once the timeline is completed, the patient is encouraged to write in a journal about the emotions inspired by this activity. The art therapist can also offer some general prompts, such as “Are there moments that inspire happiness? ” The conversation is designed to help the patient become aware of their own feelings and begin working through unresolved conflicts.

After addiction has taken hold of a person, the connection between owning personal emotions and then communicating them to others is lost. Without a way to deal with emotions, mental health is always in flux and at the mercy of what a person can control or not. Exercising creative expression through art is a non-invasive way to put emotions back into place and begin to heal. As a non-profit art therapy for addiction we rely on donations, and without a major grant or big donor, our cause is solely supported by our Board of Directors. We realized with time that supporting local sober housing and providing scholarships would required a lot more financial donations. So we brainstormed other creative ways we could still support the addiction recovery and sober community, but could give back in other ways.

creative expression activities for adults in recovery

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