Art Therapy

Art Therapy
Today, it often takes a lot more than just one approach to beat a drug or alcohol addiction. For a long time in previous decades, most drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation centers specialized in only one or two treatment modalities.  Most centers offer only the Twelve Step program, with perhaps a religious accompaniment and counseling.  Now, however, demand has risen for treatment centers that offer a lot more than that, such as art therapy.  Addiction has spread so much and has encompassed so many different demographics and individuals all across the nation with so many different types of drugs that a “one size fits all” rehab model no longer creates lasting sobriety.

This is where art therapy can make a difference.  It is well-known that addiction is a multifaceted problem.  So, who could hope to have a rehab program that only used one basic technique to do anything lasting about the addiction problem? Completing a twenty-eight-day stay at a rehab center that only had one approach might do some good.  He or she may stay sober for a short time. However, it wouldn’t create lasting sobriety.

This is why art therapy and other alternative therapies are valuable.  Art therapy, for example, is perfect for recovering addicts who have a hard time putting their ideas and thoughts into words.  The spoken word is only one of many different human ways to communicate, though, and art therapy teaches recovering addicts how to adequately address their addiction struggles without having to say a thing.

A History of Art Therapy

Art therapy has been used in rehab centers for a while now, but only recently has it garnered the national recognition that it deserves.  True enough, art therapy was misunderstood for a while, and it wasn’t nationally recognized.  At that time the rehabilitation community wasn’t quite ready to experience rehab technique that worked well and was a lot of fun, too.

Now art therapy is mainstream and accepted.  There are still facilities that do not use it, but the ones that do use it have found it to be highly effective.  Art therapy has finally given recovering addicts in treatment who are having a hard time handling or confronting some issue to be able to get everything finally out in the open and get it addressed and resolved.

Art Therapy in Use at Serenity

Serenity is proud to include art therapy as a part of our program.  At our center, clients can spend a certain portion of their days working on their addiction through artistic creation and expression.  They can do this with:

  • Painting
  • Sculpting
  • Dancing
  • Drawing
  • Acting
  • Music
  • Poetry

If a client has a special request for a type of art medium that he or she would like to use, then that can be arranged as well.  The whole idea is to give clients the best treatment possible, and a variety of treatments to help them achieve a breakthrough in their quest to get clean and sober for good. Art therapy can do a lot in working to bring this about, and it is encouraged here as it has been very successful with thousands of clients.

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The Benefits of Art Therapy

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, (SAMHSA), has a lot of good things to say about art therapy.  SAMHSA Group Therapy guide describes and expresses art therapy as being a type of expressive group therapy that can help people express their thoughts and feelings that they may not be able to say with spoken words.  A big part of addiction is a shutdown of basic human communication abilities, so a lot of recovering addicts struggle with finding the right path to take in expressing themselves with just the spoken word alone.  This is why art therapy is so valuable.

The different types of art therapy are especially helpful for the struggling individuals who have underlying psychological issues that are related to their addictions.  This accounts actually for the vast majority of addicts, and it is often those underlying issues that make it so difficult to communicate openly about their addiction problem.  Since creating art is often mostly a nonverbal process, and since it expands the ways that a person can convey ideas and emotions to others by offering many different mediums, art therapy provides any recovering addict an opportunity to explore, to understand, and to resolve various issues in a person’s life that he or she may not feel comfortable talking about in a regular conversation with someone else especially on a face to face basis.  Truly, this technique is highly beneficial and groundbreaking.

As art therapy is applied at Serenity, many clients find high levels of success and growth.  They can finally communicate things that they couldn’t articulate before, and the result is that the floodgates open, and now these clients are finally able to make forward progress in their recoveries and start communicating about things that they just couldn’t talk about before.

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