Because it can help with mood and emotion regulation, art therapy can be a potentially powerful tool for treating substance use disorders. One study published by Harvard Medical School showed that not only did art therapy help prevent cognitive decline, it also provided stress relief and aided with communication, two factors that can help with emotion regulation. Using a creative approach, participants are encouraged to express their emotions and connect inward to achieve a deeper understanding of themselves and the origins of their addictions.

  • Because many U.S. states group art therapists with other therapists, a different therapy degree combined with an arts background may help you pursue your career.
  • For over 50 years, the Gateway Foundation has been serving patients at all stages of recovery by offering evidence-based and individualized treatment programs.
  • He or she uses art projects to help improve a patients cognitive and sensorimotor functions.
  • Often called the mother of art therapy, she promoted the approach in the United States.

It’s hard to find motivation to do anything when all you want to do is drink or use drugs. Art therapy is a holistic treatment that provides the tools to cope with triggers like anger and loneliness. It teaches you how to overcome emotional roadblocks and express yourself when communicating with others.

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The study found participants with ADHD had better focus and made decisions with better clarity and participants with Asperger’s had positive behavior. People with chemical dependencies who practiced the 12 Steps found this therapy to be beneficial in reinforcing the first step and the third step of the 12 Steps. There was less denial found in their addiction, noting that making collages seemed to help them.

In an addiction treatment setting, a specially trained art therapist helps clients use their imagination to create art as a way to express thoughts and feelings they might have difficulty processing during a traditional talk-therapy session. Clients learn how art therapy for addiction to stay in the now and process their feelings without the use of alcohol or other drugs. They are safe to explore difficult thoughts and challenging emotions, make important connections between those thoughts and emotions, and develop healthier coping skills.