March 19, 2024

Art Therapy for Addiction

woman painting representing Art therapy for addiction

Art therapy for addiction recovery enables people to manage their emotions and mood more effectively, and it also provides an outlet for self-expression, equipping people battling addictions with creative strategies to prevent relapse into drug or alcohol use.

What Is Art Therapy for Addiction?

Art therapy, as defined by AATA (American Art Therapy Association), is a diverse mental health intervention that improves the lives of individuals, families, and communities. Rather than articulating challenging emotions or feelings verbally, art therapy offers those in recovery a medium to express their feelings through art in the context of a therapeutic relationship.

This mode of therapy can be extremely helpful for anyone who finds it challenging to verbalize experiences which are deeply traumatic or still very fresh in the memory. Addiction often leads people through experiences they may regret, and the stigma or shame associated with these experiences can be challenging to overcome, especially in group settings.

Art therapy for drug addiction or alcoholism includes a wide range of approaches and philosophies, including psycho-educational, mindfulness and mentalization-based treatments, compassion-focused and cognitive analytic therapies, and socially engaged practices.

This form of holistic therapy, then, involves a broad spectrum of techniques that utilize art creation as a means to address and work through issues, offering people a versatile tool for healing and personal growth.

woman painting representing Art therapy for addiction recovery

Benefits of Art Therapy for Addiction

There are many benefits to engaging with art therapy activities for addiction recovery in combination with evidence-based treatments. These include:

  • Facilitates expression of complex emotions.
  • Helps people discover their creative abilities.
  • Enhances understanding for therapists.
  • Promotes feelings of accomplishment and pride.
  • Provides an alternative mode of expression.
  • Encourages freedom of expression without judgment.
  • Equips people with skills for ongoing recovery.
  • Offers a calming effect, especially during times of stress or anxiety.

 

Types of Art Therapy for Recovering Addicts

Art therapy activities for recovering addicts incorporate an array of approaches, each tailored to streamline healing, self-expression, and emotion regulation in individuals recovering from addictions. These methodologies leverage the power of creativity to help people explore their feelings, confront the underlying issues of their addiction, and develop healthy coping mechanisms. These are some of the main art therapy activities for addiction recovery:

Expressive arts therapy

This approach combines various forms of creative expression like painting, drawing, music, dance, and writing to help individuals express themselves non-verbally. It encourages exploration of emotions and experiences, promoting healing through the process of creation.

Psychodynamic art therapy

Rooted in psychodynamic theories, this form of art therapy focuses on the unconscious and the role it plays in substance abuse. By creating art, people may uncover hidden emotions and conflicts, providing insights into their addictive behaviors and the psychological factors driving them.

CBAT (cognitive behavioral art therapy)

CBAT integrates the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy with art therapy, using art-making to identify and challenge negative thought patterns and behaviors related to substance abuse. It aims to replace these with positive alternatives, so helping people in the recovery process.

MBAT (mindfulness-based art therapy)

This type of holistic treatment integrates mindfulness practices with art therapy, emphasizing present-moment awareness during the creative process. By focusing on the act of creating without judgment, people should experience reduced stress and learn more about their habits and thought patterns.

Trauma-informed art therapy

Specifically designed for individuals whose substance abuse is linked to traumatic experiences, this approach uses art as a safe means to explore and process trauma. It aims to help people understand and heal from their trauma, addressing one of the root causes of their addiction.

Group art therapy

Conducted in a group setting, this type of therapy engenders a sense of community and shared experience among participants. Through collaborative projects or individual work shared with the group, participants can give and receive feedback, support, and encouragement.

Narrative art therapy

This approach focuses on storytelling through art, allowing people to create visual narratives of their lives, experiences with substance abuse, and recovery journeys. It helps in re-framing personal stories in a more empowering and positive light.

Each of these types of art therapy offers unique benefits and can be adapted to the needs and preferences of each individual. By engaging with these therapeutic practices, people recovering from substance abuse can find new ways to articulate their experiences, emotions, and hopes for the future, setting the foundation for a more fruitful long-term recovery.

inside of gratitude lodge representing Art therapy for addiction recovery

Get Art Therapy for Addiction at Gratitude Lodge

When you choose to begin your recovery from addiction at Gratitude Lodge in Southern California, you can access an individualized blend of evidence-based therapies and holistic treatments.

Our treatment centers are welcoming, inclusive, and pet-friendly. Choose from locations in Long Beach or Newport Beach and engage with immersive and intensive residential treatment away from the distractions and triggers of everyday life.

Medical detox at Gratitude Lodge streamlines the withdrawal process and helps you overcome physical dependence on drugs or alcohol.

During ongoing inpatient treatment, you can engage with the following treatments:

  • Holistic therapies like art therapy
  • Talk therapies like CBT and DBT
  • Motivational therapies
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Aftercare planning

Call 800-994-2184 today and begin your recovery from addiction tomorrow.

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Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
Jenni Bussi

Jenni Busse MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox, facilitating the beginnings of a successful recovery at our rehab addiction centers in Orange County, CA.

Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox.

Many patients don’t realize the toxicity of prolonged alcohol abuse and how it affects the body. Alcohol detox at the luxurious rehab addiction centers at Gratitude Lodge leeches your body of these toxins in preparation for successful treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse. Alcohol detox may not take as long or produce severe withdrawal symptoms, but it is still an essential beginning to your recovery.

Many patients don’t realize the toxicity of prolonged alcohol abuse and how it affects the body. Alcohol detox at the luxurious rehab addiction centers at Gratitude Lodge leeches your body of these toxins in preparation for successful treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse.
an image of clients getting fresh air while getting treatment at Gratitude Lodge's Long Beach rehab program

Holistic Therapy

Our holistic therapy treatments offer a full-scope approach to recovery, addressing your mind, body, and emotions as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. This therapy is designed to help address underlying issues and integrate alternative therapies to promote overall health and well-being.
an image of clients sitting for therapy at Gratitude Lodge's Long Beach addiction rehab center

Psychotherapy

An essential part of your treatment experience, we offer individual (CBT and DBT talk therapy) and group addiction treatment counseling to help you explore and address the emotional component of addiction, providing you with the tools, self-awareness, and empowerment you need to maintain recovery.
an image of a woman who got help from Gratitude Lodge's Long Beach addiction treatment center

Dual Diagnosis

Dual Diagnosis is a highly effective addiction treatment that addresses substance use and mental health disorders simultaneously. Often co-occurring, these disorders are best managed when treated together with specific and targeted therapy.
an image of a client and therapist at Gratitude Lodge's Long Beach addiction treatment center

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-Assisted Treatment provides you with FDA-approved medications to help ease the symptoms of withdrawal while you’re in treatment. This makes the detox process easier and safer, as well as increasing the chances of a successful recovery.
an image of clients outside after getting help at Gratitude Lodge's rehab in Long Beach, California

Sober Living

Sober living provides a supportive and substance-free living environment for your ongoing recovery. We partner with a number of upscale and carefully vetted sober living homes that are available to our clients after inpatient alcohol and drug addiction treatment.
an image of clients at Gratitude Lodge's drug and alcohol rehab in Long Beach

Outpatient Treatment

Once detox and inpatient are complete, we provide an easy transition to outpatient care through our hand-selected partners. This program offers a more flexible approach, allowing you to ease back in to daily life while still receiving frequent & effective care.
An image of clients going through therapy at Gratitude Lodge's rehab in Long Beach, California

Inpatient
Treatment

Inpatient treatment provides an intensive and comprehensive addiction treatment program in a structured environment. You will receive 24/7 expert care, therapy, and support as you build your foundation for long-term recovery.
an image of clients at clients at Gratitude Lodge's Long Beach detox center

Drug & Alcohol Detox

A crucial first step in the recovery process, our detox program provides a comfortable, medically supervised environment that addresses the physical aspect of addiction and eliminates substances from your body.

Use Our 24 Hour text line. You can ask questions about our program, the admissions process, and more.