What is Art Therapy?

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Art therapy is an approach to recovery that uses a person’s creativity and imagination to express him or herself in a healthy and productive manner. The main goal of art therapy is to expand communication to better convey experiences.

Moreover, art therapy can tap into the psyche in a way that other therapies generally do not. This is especially helpful for those who have a fear of verbal communication or have difficulties expressing themselves in words. Creative methods commonly used in art therapy include:







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Art therapy as a means of expression can be very beneficial for those who have a fear of verbal communication or have difficulties expressing themselves in words. It allows people to express thoughts and feelings in a way they may normally could not. And because art is a often non-verbal process, it allows people to convey emotions in a more abstract and creative form.

This can facilitate discussion (if desired) and help clients and other better understand issues in a person’s life than commentary can alone. As a result, art therapy can promote further insight and meaning into an individual’s own personal worldview and experiences.

Art therapy is used as an intervention for a number of conditions. It is especially relevant to addiction treatment because it provides persons with another way of understanding and coping with their substance dependency, as well as contributing factors to their addiction. Like many traditional therapies, art therapy puts focus on teaching individuals how to practice personal introspection, and improve coping skills.

When presented in a group setting, it can help addicts and alcoholics grow closer to others and better understand each other’s feelings and experiences. In summary, art therapy is an effective, safe, creative, and healthy way for a person to process the feelings, experiences, and troubles that have contributed to their addiction.

For many, it is a refreshing change from traditional, individualized talk-focused therapy, and offers an alternative means of effective communication.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology

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