100 Art Therapy Exercises The Updated and Improved List The Art of Emotional Healing by Shelley Klammer

One 2020 review looked at the results from 20 studies of visual art therapy in people with PTSD who had undergone one or more traumatic events that caused extreme stress. Experts say that art therapy can allow people to express their thoughts and feelings in ways they may not be able to by speaking or writing alone. You might not be able to find the words, but you still feel the feelings. Clients who have experienced emotional trauma, physical violence, domestic abuse, anxiety, depression, and other psychological issues can benefit from expressing themselves creatively. People have been relying on the arts for communication, self-expression, and healing for thousands of years. But art therapy didn’t start to become a formal program until the 1940s.

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art therapy ideas for adults in recovery

You may also want to include printed images, mixed media supplies, and found objects, depending on your client’s preferences. Once your client has finished, run through some open-ended processing questions to explore their meaning. While addiction knows no bounds, it disproportionately affects certain groups of people.

art therapy ideas for adults in recovery

You Don’t Have to Be Artistic

For many, the thought of engaging in art therapy can be both exciting and daunting. Whether you consider yourself artistically inclined or not, the transformative potential of the creative process awaits. The artistic process is inherently empowering. The creator has control art therapy ideas for adults in recovery over the medium, the subject, and the outcome, providing a sense of autonomy often needed by those in recovery or grappling with mental health challenges. Often, words fall short in capturing the depth and complexity of emotions, especially when processing trauma.

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  • Drama therapy is a safe method for exploring these roles in a nonthreatening way (Jones, 1996).
  • The journal provides a safe place for a client to express their authentic voice and practice honest self-expression (Knill & Atkins, 2020).
  • The exercise develops the emotional world, communication skills.
  • For example, for the mother I mentioned above, I’ll call her Jane, a reframe of her past drug use and subsequent recovery allowed her to process through the guilt she felt.
  • His art therapist encouraged him to draw a second picture of what he hopes to feel like a year from now.

Her meaning around her ability to be a good mom was wrapped up in guilt about her past drug use. Her immense guilt seemed to rule her decision-making more often than not, and it seemed to extinguish any instincts she may have felt with regard to self-care. You could also have your client craft their own box out of cardstock or cardboard, too.

Art Therapy In Recovery: Using the Power of Creativity to Treat Addiction

Substance Use Treatment

  • If you want guided art therapy, consider working with a credentialed art therapist who can guide you appropriately through the practice of self-reflection through art.
  • Similar to a memory jar, a self-care box holds small trinkets or scraps of paper.
  • Encourage the artists to add affirmations they enjoy on the outside.
  • A 2017 study found that art displayed in hospital settings contributed to an environment where patients felt safe.

About the Clients Referenced in this Post

art therapy ideas for adults in recovery

  • Apply paint to a sheet of paper with plenty of water.
  • But you might be surprised how good simply drawing or coloring can make you feel.

Creativity for Addiction Recovery?