Art therapy for mental health and addiction is a type of treatment that uses the creative process to help people explore, express, and cope with their emotions. Art therapy can be done individually or with a group and often uses traditional materials such as paints, crayons, watercolor, or clay. It may involve drawing, painting, sculpting, or collaging based on your experiences in order to communicate how you feel. If you struggle with processing uncomfortable emotions related to trauma, addiction, or mental health conditions, find out how Tacoma, Washington, art therapy services can help.
The comprehensive treatment programs at Bayview Recovery include holistic therapies such as art therapy for addiction and mental health recovery. Our art therapists are trained to provide various art therapy types to help accommodate your needs and interests. Contact us at 855.478.3650 to find out if art therapy is right for you and how it can help you heal.
What Is Art Therapy for Mental Health and Addiction?
Art therapy is a form of therapy that uses art making as a form of expression. It can be used to help people with mental health disorders, like depression and anxiety, or those who are going through stressful periods in their life.
For example, if you have lost someone close to you, been diagnosed with a serious illness, or experienced a traumatic event, art therapy can help you process your pain and release it safely and constructively. Art therapy is also beneficial for people struggling with addiction since mental health disorders are often underlying contributors to self-medication.
5 Types of Art Therapy
Art therapy is about much more than drawing a picture that expresses your feelings. There are several art therapy types that may be used during your sessions:
1. Non-directive art expression
During non-directive art expression, the art therapist doesn’t give any instructions or suggestions. They don’t make any comments or critiques or provide feedback. They only observe what you create and listen carefully to your story as it unfolds through your artwork. The non-directive approach allows people to create their own images that reflect their inner world and experiences rather than being told what they should create.
2. Directive art therapy
With directive art therapy, the art therapist may provide a particular theme around which to create artwork. In the case of mental health and addiction treatment, an art therapist may choose specific emotions, such as hate, guilt, or fear. This type of art therapy may be helpful for people who feel stuck or numb and simply stare at a blank page without knowing where to begin. They may need additional prompting to begin creating therapeutic artwork.
Painting is a type of art therapy that uses the creative process of making art to improve well-being. The act of painting allows you to express yourself through your art when it is difficult to communicate through written or spoken words. The act of painting can be soothing and help you feel better about yourself. In turn, this can assist with feelings of stress and anxiety.
If you don’t feel comfortable drawing or painting, your art therapist may suggest collage art therapy. You can find pictures online or from magazines that are meaningful to you and express what you may have trouble saying aloud.
Sculpting is a form of art therapy that may involve different types of materials such as clay or even Play-Doh. This allows you to create three-dimensional forms to express your feelings. The act of molding the clay and feeling the cool, pliable material between your fingers can help reduce stress and improve your mood.
Bayview Recovery: Art Therapy for Addiction Recovery
Art therapy can help you overcome many difficulties in your life, including addiction and mental health conditions. If you have been going through a rough patch, reach out to Bayview Recovery at 855.478.3650. We can set you up with an intake assessment to determine if art therapy may be a valuable component of your recovery plan and which types of art therapy may serve you best.
Dave Cundiff, MD, MPH is an experienced leader in the field of Substance Use Disorder treatment. He works with patients suffering from Substance Use Disorder to evaluate their medication needs and prescribe treatments accordingly. In addition, he regularly participates in all-staff debriefing sessions involving peers, nurses, and other prescribers. He also reviews and advises on policies, procedures, and techniques for treating substance use disorder.