If you are like millions of Americans who struggle with substance use disorders (SUDs), there is a significant chance you are not currently accessing addiction treatment. By some estimates, 10% of people who need help with addiction do not receive it. Other estimates are much higher. Your reading this indicates that you are in the early phase of exploring recovery options—a significant step worthy of congratulations.
The most common treatments for SUDs are evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)—but expressive therapies, such as art therapy, are also very healing. If you want to learn more about the benefits of art therapy for substance abuse, reach out to the Utah art therapy center at Painted Desert Recovery.
Painted Desert Recovery is a women-only treatment facility specializing in treating trauma and offering evidence-based treatments in combination with experiential therapies and healthy living. Talking to one of our professional staff members is easy. Call 844.540.0357 or use our online form to connect. Reach out today to learn more about art therapy in Utah and find out the answer to the question, “Does art therapy work?”
How Does Art Therapy Work?
Many people wonder if art therapy is evidence-based. Although there have been no large-scale studies, many reputable mental health and addiction treatment centers offer this form of therapy with excellent results. Board-certified art therapists are also familiar with and trained in best practices.
Art therapy is based on the idea that when people in recovery engage in self-expression through art, they can learn to understand their emotions in a safe environment, respond to damaging or unhealthy thoughts as they arise, and gain new perspectives through the act of creation.
Art and its creation tap into the subconscious in ways many people do not realize. The creative expression originates in a different part of the brain than analytical processes. The mindful, open act of making art can be healing and soothing to the heart and mind. Understanding what the created art represents for you adds another layer of learning and revelation.
An art therapist will help clients use art to address some of the issues that underlie or go along with their substance use disorder. You don’t need to be skilled at art or consider yourself a creative person to benefit from art therapy. The goal is not to make art that will hang in a gallery—but art that will uncover truths, help you work through difficult memories, and face challenging realizations.
Once you select your medium—paint, clay, charcoal, oil pastels, or anything else—your art therapist will probably begin by asking you questions to get you started.
Art Therapy Benefits
The benefits of art therapy are often difficult to describe by those who experience it, but clinicians report that it can:
- Help people heal past trauma
- Feel more autonomy and exhibit greater self-advocacy
- Explore and establish healthier relationships
- Experience the present moment, similar to mindfulness practices
- Release harmful and damaging beliefs and emotions
- Feel ready to face a future without reliance on substances
Many people find that creating, analyzing, and understanding the art they have created can be helpful. You may work in a session to create art based on a particular prompt from your therapist or in response to a dream or a fear you have. Afterward, you will look at it and discuss it with your therapist and may find that you were unaware of some of its meanings until looking at it when it is finished. If you return to it in a few days, you may find that it reveals even more.
Find Art Therapy for Addiction Treatment in Utah at Painted Desert Recovery
At Painted Desert, women in recovery can access evidence-based treatment and experiential therapies like art therapy as part of their individualized treatment plans. Upon admission and after a thorough intake, you and your treatment team will agree on the therapies and experiences that best serve you as you heal. This treatment plan will be reviewed and updated as needed. Your journey to recovery is of utmost importance.