Art Therapy: How You Benefit from It

“ I have always found it difficult to express what I am feeling in words.  Sometimes the thoughts and emotions became so jumbled; it was impossible to unravel what was going on for me.  Through drawing and painting, I have found a way that is safe to express myself.  I also enjoy it and find it relaxing.  This is something I have continued to practice on leaving the clinic”

Treating Addiction through Art Therapy

At Liberty House we use Art Therapy as a means of treating Addiction and also for some mental health issues and mood disorders. Addiction can present itself in many different forms; it is for this reason that we use a number of proven and varied treatment techniques.  Our treatment program is both diverse and engaging, to take into account different issues, personalities and social upbringing.

Most individuals that admit to Liberty House have used drugs, alcohol and/or compulsive behaviors to block out their thoughts and emotions.  It is vital to each individual’s personal recovery, that they learn a safe way to express and deal with the things that have been blocking them from recovery.  Once the drugs and alcohol or compulsive behavior has been removed; emotions will at times, seem overwhelming.  Art therapy offers an alternative to talking therapy, as a means of communicating these sometimes very difficult to express pent up emotions.  Some individuals will respond exceptionally well to this treatment method and learn to use it as a tool for expression. There are a number of benefits to Art Therapy, when used in application to treat addiction.  In addition to offering a way of expressing complex emotions and thought processes, Art Therapy also awakens the individual’s creativity.  Many addicts find that in active addiction, they lose all motivation and interest in any thing that is creative.  Liberty House’s counselling team will encourage patients to express themselves through the use of art materials. This then provides a great starting point to communicating sometimes distressing and painful emotions. It also helps to build self-esteem and can give the individual a real sense of satisfaction and release.

The Benefits of Art Therapy

Art Therapy has been proven to have a number of physical, emotional and spiritual benefits in treating Addiction, Compulsive Disorders and Co occurring mental health issues.  As well as treating substance addiction, it also used to treated mental health problems and disorders such as: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Eating Disorders, Depression and Anxiety Disorder. Here are some of the other benefits to Art Therapy:

  • Assists in the recovery of fine motor neuron skills and dexterity
  • Taps into the individuals Creativity and encourages further exploration
  • Helps rebuild self-esteem
  • Helps the individual to relax and break away from obsessive thinking
  • Helps to channel the mind into something positive and productive
  • Encourages the individual to express their emotions is a safe way
  • Provides an outlet for thoughts and feelings
  • Positively re-enforces that you do not need drink and drugs to relax
  • Helps to tap into the individual’s inner child in a nurturing an expressive way
  • Assists in breaking down and identifying negative behaviors and thought patterns
  • Assists in expressing events and trauma that the individual may find too difficult to talk about initially
  • Breaks down barriers and provides a useful tool for discussion with a therapist and peers

Liberty House’s art therapy is delivered by our counsellors, who are experienced in using art to help treat addiction and co occurring illnesses. The classes are structured so that the patient receives maximum benefit from each session.  Tasks and Assignments are set to help explore thoughts and feelings through the use of Art materials. Each individual is then has the opportunity to talk about their piece of art and what it means to them.  This provides a useful basis for discussion, feed back and therapy. Another benefit of Art therapy is that the individual may well be reopening an activity that they very much enjoyed, before drink and drugs took over.  In addiction, the individual comes to lose their sense of self and becomes the addiction; art in its varying forms is something they may well choose to continue with on leaving treatment, if it is something that they enjoy.

Types of Art Therapy

Art therapy is a structured treatment, with very specific therapeutic goals. Please call Liberty House with any questions you may have. The 3 main types of art therapy are:

Third Hand Art:

This technique involves the help from the therapist, who assist’s the individual in producing a piece of art that is reflective of his or her own experiences.  It is especially useful to those whom are unable to find a starting point. It also encourages a trusting and productive relationship with the therapist, which is helpful in breaking down barriers.

Active Imagination:

This technique encapsulates freedom of expression.  It releases the individuals’ own creativity and is productive in discussion. This freestyle approach is personal to the individual and encourages reflection and artistic flare.

Gestalt methods:

The Gestalt method enlists specific techniques in which the individual uses Art to express what they are feeling and their thoughts.  The art piece is then discussed and the individual encouraged to explore what it means to them on a deeper level.

Liberty House endeavor to offer our patients a number of cutting edge addiction treatment techniques, that they can then utilise and further develop on their return back home.  For further information on the structure of our treatment program, please call the clinic and speak to a member of our staff.

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