How art therapy can help with addiction recovery


Art therapy was developed in the 1950s and has proven to be an increasingly helpful tool throughout many forms of recovery. The practice uses a multitude of creative processes that allow the client to express themselves, communicate, gain confidence, and persevere towards positive change.

Tackling addiction is often the most challenging thing that someone can do. New treatments are constantly being explored all over the world. Whether for yourself or a loved one, finding a suitable facility with the right treatments is of the utmost importance. Throughout this article, we are going to talk about the effectiveness of art therapy in overcoming drug dependency. We hope that we can provide insight into what art therapy involves and its many benefits.

What is art therapy?

Art therapy is actively partaking in different creative processes as a form of communication. When confronted with addiction, finding the words to express yourself can be tough, so art therapy can bridge that gap, allowing clients to talk without words. Accompanied by a highly trained therapist, art becomes a powerful way in which someone can convey thoughts and emotions that they may otherwise not have the ability to communicate. This method of opening up has become a popular form of therapy and has produced results that wouldn’t be possible without it. Therefore, the role of creative expression in overcoming addiction has become a widely utilised process.

What are the creative processes involved in art therapy?

Art therapy can be achieved through any creative medium, and it is often best for clients to choose what is right for them. Some of the processes involve the following:

  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Sculpting
  • Journal writing
  • Creative writing
  • Acting
  • Making music
  • Poetry
  • Collaging
  • Photography
  • Mandala making
  • Role-play

The effectiveness of art therapy in overcoming drug dependency

There are many ways in which art therapy can benefit someone struggling with addiction. The role of art therapy in drug rehab has proven extraordinarily successful. Here are some of the ways that art therapy can help:

  • Helping to promote positive change – A therapist can use a client’s artwork to open a gateway to self-discovery. Opening up a dialogue between a client and their therapist is not always easy, so going into depth about artwork and other artistic creations can help clients realise why they are where they are and where they want to be.
  • Increases confidence and self-esteem – Creativity can verify an individual’s unique qualities and provide a sense of accomplishment. This can often be lost when somebody is battling addiction and promoting such things can almost effortlessly ease a person’s recovery towards normality and confidence. In addition, the skills gained through art therapy can help a client remember or rediscover who they are and where they want to be. This self-discovery can lead someone to rebuild their identity and approach life with a new and healthy perspective.


  • Gives pride under challenging times – Pride is an essential element that art therapy can instil in a person. When people seek rehab, it can often be a demeaning time, so creativity gives them a chance to make something to be proud of. Even if the client is not a natural artist, they can still take pride in their progression and learn new skills.
  • Can help battle cravings – Sufferers of addiction often struggle with mental health issues or trauma. Creating art can help bring these deep-rooted issues to the surface and identify triggers. Once the triggers have been identified, removing or replacing them is much easier. Also, finding a healthy and repetitive activity through art can help battle cravings and triggers in a physical capacity.
  • Lessens stress and anxiety – Stress levels have been seen to drop in clients when creating art. Art is a great therapeutic tool that relaxes a person while decreasing the amount of repetitive and negative thoughts likely circulating in someone’s mind during recovery from addiction. This allows the client to process thoughts better and enables them to focus on themselves.
  • An excellent outlet for expression and communication – As art is a calming activity, it can be an essential part of communication for a person dealing with addiction. A common trait of someone suffering from addiction is a lack of ability to communicate thoughts and ideas effectively. The safe space of art therapy will allow clients to find a healthy way to express emotions and give them the time to communicate with their therapist. Art Therapy can work wonders in group therapy sessions too. The confidence that art therapy gives to a person can improve their social capabilities in all manner of situations.
  • Helps to understand and resolve past trauma – Art therapy allows people to work through various thoughts and feelings. Often, drug addiction is associated with some past trauma, and with the aid of art therapy, the foundations of recovery can be set. Discussing trauma can be difficult, but it is much easier to navigate through the past when allowing one’s subconscious to lay it out through the medium of creativity. Even if the client is unaware of what they have created, they will be guided toward healthy discussion by their therapist. Then, the client can explore their trauma through these realisations, resolve it, and heal.
  • It’s fun – Besides all the benefits, having fun is equally essential. With art therapy, people learn, relax, discover, and grow while having a good time. In addition, it is important to remind someone of the joys that life offers when they are suffering hardship.

In search of the right rehab?

If you are searching for rehab for yourself or a loved one or want to know a little more about how art therapy can help with addiction recovery, don’t hesitate to get in touch. At Calm Rehab, there is zero judgement, and we are fully equipped with techniques delivered by experts to help you get back to your best self. Get in touch today to find out if drug rehab in Bali is the rig

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