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How to Participate in Art Therapy When You Aren’t an Artist

Treating addiction involves several different treatment modalities and approaches. Experiential methods, like art therapy, can go a long way in recovery. Even if you’re not an artist, you can still participate in art therapy. This modality is a unique way to express yourself through your healing journey.

What Is Art Therapy?

Art therapy has become widely used to treat mental health, addiction, and trauma. It has been found as an effective tool for many populations, including veterans, women, and adolescents.

Cureus says that art therapy can refer to various treatments, including “theatre therapy, dance movement psychotherapy, body psychotherapy, music therapy, and drawing, painting and craft therapy.” This modality has become a “significant element of the therapeutic sector” used in various recovery and treatment procedures.

Benefits of Art Therapy in Recovery

According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Addictions Nursing, art therapy as a treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) “dates back to the 1950s.” The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) even specifically acknowledges art therapy as a helpful tool for managing addiction.

Through art therapy, participants are able to express themselves in creative ways without using words. Activities like painting, drawing, sculpting, and more can help individuals overcome triggers and re-discover joy in a new hobby. The 2014 study notes several benefits of art therapy for SUD patients. These include “decreasing denial, reducing opposition to alcoholism treatment, providing an outlet for communication, and lessening shame.”

Participate in Art Therapy for Self-Expression

People who experience SUD generally lose a connection with themselves throughout the years. Much of their lives become devoted to substances, and they can lose a sense of what makes them truly happy.

However, self-expression is a wonderful byproduct of art therapy. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy spending time creating sculptures, paintings, and more. Art can help you express the deepest parts of yourself that you feel unable to express through the written word. Cureus even notes that “Art therapy uses integrative techniques to captivate the soul, body and mind in ways that verbal expression alone doesn’t appear to.” You may be surprised at what comes out through this practice.

Art therapy can also help you express deep traumas that may be hidden in your subconscious. This is an excellent tool that can help you get to the root cause of your addiction in a productive way.

Participate in Art Therapy for Peer Connection

When you participate in an art class, you have the ability to connect with peers with similar struggles. Classes held at recovery centers are an excellent blend of creative expression and SUD treatment. A common bond in healing can lift you up and push you further along your journey. You don’t have to go through it alone. You may also find more of a drive for success in recovery when you’re around others with similar goals.

What if I’m Not an Artist?

The thing about art therapy is that there are many different activities you can choose from. Many people may shy away from this type of treatment because they feel like they’re not artistically inclined. You can rest assured that you will find something you like.

Art, in general, is simply a form of self-expression. People often put constructs on the idea of what an “artist” may be. Don’t let this idea stop you from trying something new and exciting. You never know what kind of gifts you may have underneath the surface.

You will also receive amazing healing benefits no matter what kind of art you create. Instead of traditional painting, you may be interested in something like pottery, watercolors, or even tie-dye. The point of art is that there are no strict rules. You can (and should) create whatever moves through you.

Participate in Art Therapy for Mental Health

Many people in addiction treatment often struggle with a co-occurring mental health disorder. Substance abuse can lead to conditions like anxiety and depression, making you feel even more vulnerable.

According to a 2021 study in Frontiers in Psychology, pharmacological treatment may be the first choice for mental disorders, but “many antipsychotics contribute to poor quality of life and debilitating adverse effects.” More than half a century ago, clinicians began to turn to complementary treatments, like art therapy.

Frontiers in Psychology says that the development of art therapy “comes partly from the artistic expression of the belief in unspoken things,” and participants are not required to have previous art skills. The study found art therapy to have “great potential in clinical applications on mental disorders.”

Art Therapy at The Guest House

At The Guest House, we utilize art therapy to help individuals express themselves in ways other than words. We encourage you to participate in art therapy even if you don’t think of yourself as an artist.

Making art can be a beautiful and deeply cathartic process. Once you finish your piece, you will find a renewed sense of pride and accomplishment within yourself. These classes also give you the freedom to express yourself and your unique story. Our art therapy classes are guided by an expert clinical therapist who is specialized in art training. Your therapist will be there to provide support and encourage you through the process.

Holistic Healing

Art therapy is just one of the many holistic modalities you can find at The Guest House. These programs work alongside one another to ensure you find the best therapies for your personal needs. Along with art therapy, you may want to explore one of our other programs, like conscious connected breathwork, music in healing, or even equine therapy.

Our mission at The Guest House is to ensure you find the best tools to help you heal your mind, body, and soul. Here you will learn how to re-discover yourself and gain the confidence you need to live substance-free.

Art therapy is an excellent tool for self-expression and addiction recovery. Even if you don’t think of yourself as an artist, you can still participate in art therapy and receive plentiful healing benefits. At The Guest House, our art therapy classes are led by an expert clinician who will be there to support you every step of the way. We encourage you to express yourself without the written word, using art therapy as a way to share your unique story. In addition to art therapy, The Guest House offers a wide variety of holistic therapies, allowing you to find the modalities that work best for your unique needs. Call us today at (855) 483-7800.