Expressive Arts and Addiction Treatment
Expressive arts therapy is a form of healing that helps people with addiction and their families recover through creating art. It is holistic in nature and can be extremely beneficial in a person’s recovery and continuing into long-term sobriety (Gordon, 2013). Expressive arts zeroes in on four points: expression, imagination, active participation and establishing a mind-body connection. It can help a person use self-expression of art work to discover unspoken personal issues and to release feelings. Understanding what a person is feeling and how those feelings impact their actions is vital to modify behavior in the future. Therefore, expressive therapy is combines with counseling sessions which includes group and individual work along with other forms of psychotherapy. When combined in this fashion it helps promote a person to recognize what is going on inside their emotions and though process so they will be better equipped to lean new methods for coping with them (Gordon, 2013).
The focus of expressive therapy is not the artistic outcome but the process of creating. A client using expressive therapy is not required to have artistic ability, rather it is through the use of the person’s senses that the imagination can process, flourish, break-way to and support healing (Good Therapy n.d.). Whether painting, viewing an image, moving the body or journaling each one is unique and when it is combines with a relationship with a therapist all end up supporting the creative imagination towards clarity (Good Therapy, n.d.).
First Step recognizes that every person is unique in their own right and not everyone’s treatment will feel the same. What may work with one person may not align with someone else’s need. We are also aware that addiction treatment can sometimes be repetitive which can possibly lead to an impasse in a client’s recovery. The use of expressive arts in some group sessions encourages our clients to creatively think about their journey through recovery and gives the client an alternative to verbal expression alone. It also allows them to discover more about themselves. Many counselors use expressive arts in some of their group session which can include journal writing, drama therapy such as family sculpting and drawing. So far being able to use different means of expression has helped many of the people we work with accomplish their therapeutic goals, which is important to us.
Good Therapy. (n.d). Expressive Arts Therapy. Retrieved from goodtherapy.org.
Gordon, Joshua. June 4, 2013. A Colorful Approach to Addiction Recovery. Smart Recovery. Retrieved from blog.smartrecovery.org.