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Do Rehab Centers Have Art Therapy Programs?

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

March 14, 2019

Alternative drug rehabilitation techniques like art therapy are growing in popularity, but the evidence of their effectiveness for addiction recovery specifically is still somewhat lacking. We occasionally use art activities in treatment to improve the patient’s overall experience.

What Is Art Therapy?

Art therapy is an alternate form of psychological therapy that centers the person recovering from addiction on creating highly personal and expressive forms of art. It includes you, the person creating the art, and an art therapist.

The art therapist’s role is simple: help you choose an art form, direct you towards realizing a piece of art, and explore the emotions and concepts it explores. Sometimes, you won’t fully understand all the hidden meaning of your art: the therapist will help you find them.

Don’t worry if you’re not talented: creating artistic masterpieces is hardly the point. The end result doesn’t matter: it’s the process that is important. Art therapy is designed as a way to help you work through your problems and express them in a positive and creative environment.

Typical forms of art therapy and activities can include:

  • Drawing
  • Writing
  • Performing music
  • Energetic and expressive forms of dancing
  • Painting
  • Acting
  • Poetry (including poetry slams)
  • Pottery or sculpture

The type of art created doesn’t matter, as long as you are being honest and open during the process. The whole process is designed as a way to vent negative feelings and to focus you towards recovery.

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What Are The Benefits Of Art Therapy?

Art therapy has become one of the most popular forms of alternative therapy because it is so adaptable and serves your needs first. Psychological improvement is the primary aim of art therapy and the many psychological benefits of art therapy include:

  • Helping you understand yourself and your issues more fully by allowing you to work through them in a creative and emotionally potent manner.
  • Creating a sense of fulfillment as you finish your piece of art. Even if it isn’t great by artistic standards, it’s still something that you successfully created.
  • Promoting relaxation for people who suffer from severe anxiety and stress.
  • Increasing socialization in a group setting. It can even educate you about various artistic techniques and skills you didn’t understand before.
  • Allowing you to engage with your psychological concerns using metaphors and stories.

How Does Art Therapy Help Drug Addiction?

Obviously, art therapy can’t help you with the physical aspects of your addiction. Instead, it is designed to help you express the thoughts and concerns you simply don’t know how to express. Any form of serious art taps into the deep thoughts, concerns, and frustrations of your life and the psychological concerns that fuel your addiction.

There are a few different ways that the art therapist will help guide you. Often, the therapist will discuss the artwork with you after it is done, searching out your inner compulsions for its creation. Other times, therapists sit in with you during the creation of your piece and discuss how it makes you feel. The approach depends on which method works best for your needs.

Essentially, art therapy helps you find ways to understand your addiction and beat the emotional and psychological addictive aspects. Detoxifying and experiencing withdrawal are relatively easy compared to the emotional trauma caused by addiction and art therapy is a simple and effective way to help.

And once you’re done with your rehabilitation treatment, art therapy can serve as a useful independent coping method. You may be able to it to curb your cravings and focus your pain in an expressive and constructive manner. In this way, you can avoid falling victim to dangerous relapses.

Where Can I Learn More?

If art therapy sounds like the right treatment option for you, please contact us at as soon as possible. Our counselors can help steer you in the direction of an art therapy option near you.

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