What Is Art Therapy?
Art therapy is the creation of art by people who are experiencing trauma, illness or difficulties coping with their daily lives. Through the process of creation and appreciation within a group therapeutic context, people can gain greater awareness and insight about themselves and others. The creative process can help cope with traumatic experiences, stress, and symptoms and is a useful tool in improving cognitive abilities.
Art therapists, professionals who have been trained in both the arts and therapy, lead the sessions. They have an extensive understanding of psychological theories, clinical practices, human development as well as various art traditions.
The History of Art Therapy
Ever since the first cave dweller drew on his cave wall, art has been an integral part of human expression. To many who have toiled in their art throughout the centuries, the experience has been emotional, cathartic and rewarding. It was only in the mid-20th century; however, that artistic self-expression formally became a therapeutic practice. Today, art therapy has become a well-respected and widely used form of psychotherapy in a wide range of clinical settings, including mental health centers, grief counseling, prisons and addiction treatment programs.
How Does Art Therapy for Addiction Work?
It is well known that art therapy for addiction, like other forms of holistic therapies, is proven to help reduce stress and anxiety, resulting in lower levels of cortisol in the body. The lessened levels of stress and anxiety not only help the client to feel better; it promotes a greater possibility for trust and can modify how one perceives the physical and emotional symptoms of withdrawal.
Creating and working on a piece of art engages several parts of the brain. It requires hand-eye coordination, which is centered in the right side of the brain associated with creativity. This opens up the client to deal with abstract feelings like fear, anger and insecurity by putting them into something more concrete that he or she can analyze and appreciate with the help of the art therapist.
The art therapy program in place at Beachway Therapy Center is made to tap into the group’s creative tendencies. Additionally, reading and writing assignments are given with an objective of challenging the individuals’ fertile minds. Participants are encouraged to share and present their art projects to others in the group, no matter if they are in the form of a drawing, sculpture, painting, poetry or music. Clients often feel more empowered thanks to the supportive encouragement and positive feedback they receive. In combination with traditional dual diagnosis treatment programs, art therapy can be a significant component in furthering addiction recovery.
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