Art as Therapy: Does It Work?

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What Is Art as Therapy?

Expressive arts therapy is a therapeutic approach that harnesses creativity to foster emotional growth and healing. This encompasses various methods, such as art, music, movement, and writing, to aid individuals in exploring their thoughts, emotions, and experiences.

The primary objective of expressive arts therapy is to boost self-awareness and communication skills, foster healthy coping strategies, resolve emotional issues and internal conflicts, nurture creativity, and enhance overall well-being.

In addiction recovery, it serves as a valuable tool by helping individuals process challenging emotions and experiences that they may not be ready to verbalize. It also contributes to building self-esteem and discovering deeper meaning and purpose in life.

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Types of Expressive Arts Therapies

Expressive arts therapy is a broad term that encompasses a variety of therapies that use creative expression to promote healing and personal growth. The different types of creative expressive therapies include:

  • Expressive art therapy: This therapy uses art materials, such as drawing, painting, and sculpting, to help clients explore their thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

  • Expressive dance therapy: This therapy uses movement and dance to help clients express themselves and connect with their bodies.

  • Expressive music therapy: This therapy uses music to help clients relax, reduce stress, and improve mood.

  • Expressive writing therapy: This therapy uses writing to help clients express themselves and process their thoughts and feelings.

While each of these has its own benefits, expressive therapy is a unique experience. What is important is that you find a therapeutic activity that works for you and commit to it so that you have the best opportunity to achieve lasting recovery.

Art Therapy

Art therapy uses the creative process of art-making to improve the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It is a form of psychotherapy that uses art materials and techniques to help you express yourself and work through difficult emotions.

At our treatment facilities, the goal of art therapy is to help you explore your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a safe and supportive environment. Our certified art therapists incorporate thought-provoking art-based activities into your treatment process to promote introspection, self-expression, inner motivation, and various other tools and skills to help you achieve wellness.

When participating in this therapy form, you will be able to enjoy painting, drawing, craft building, and various other artistic activities to help you practice introspection, express yourself, and relieve stress during the recovery process.

Music Therapy

When participating in expressive music therapy activities, our qualified music therapists will use music and its elements, such as rhythm, melody, and harmony, to help you improve your physical, emotional, cognitive, and social well-being.

Whether you are listening to or creating the healing sounds of music, this therapy form can help reduce your stress and anxiety, improve your mood and self-esteem, support your emotional and cognitive development, enhance your creativity and expressiveness, and even help manage physical pain.

Our facilities offer music therapy groups run by our professional music therapy facilitators, who utilize musical sounds to promote introspection, inner motivation, healthy communication, and so much more. These music therapy group activities also incorporate hands-on participation with instruments so that you are engaged in self-expressive and creative activities to promote your healing.

Journal Therapy

Being able to write in a way where your grammar or punctuation is not important, and the only thing that matters is writing exactly what you are feeling or thinking at the moment, can be an incredibly liberating and healing experience for many people who are struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues.

Journal therapy is a type of therapy that uses writing as a way to explore and process thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It can be done individually or in a group setting, and it can be used to address a variety of mental health and general life issues.

Our treatment approach incorporates expressive writing and journal therapy as a way to help you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your experiences, develop healthy coping skills, improve your communication skills, learn how to set goals and make plans, and improve your mental and emotional health.

During this activity, our writing therapy facilitators will provide journal prompts to help you reconnect to your internal dialogue. This can include doing daily journaling exercises, practicing positive affirmations, and completing stream-of-consciousness writing, where you simply write down your thoughts as they occur.

Dance/Movement Therapy

Dance/movement therapy uses movement to help you express and work through your emotions, improve your physical and mental health, and build healthy, positive relationships. It is based on the belief that the mind and body are interconnected and that movement can be used to access and heal the emotional and psychological self.

Our movement therapy facilitators will guide you through physical activities involving dance and movements as acts of self-expression. You will be able to participate in a variety of different movement-based activities, including free-form movement, guided imagery, structured exercises, creative movement, and dance improvisation.

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Art as Therapy Programs at South Coast

At South Coast Behavioral Health, we believe in treating not just the addiction but the whole person. Your healing does not have to be one-dimensional, and you deserve the chance to not only overcome your addiction but re-discover your self-worth and meaning in life through participating in expressive therapeutic activities.

Our treatment facilities offer you the chance to explore both evidence-based and holistic treatment options so that you can recover from your addiction without limitations. With our locations throughout the beautiful state of California and our dedication to providing individualized care to each of our clients, you can rest assured that you will receive the best care possible when participating in our unique and comprehensive treatment program.

If you are ready to overcome your addiction and start living a happier, healthier, and more mindful life, South Coast Behavioral Health is here to help. Our program offers the comprehensive and emotionally fulfilling treatment you need to achieve long-term sobriety and wellness.

You can call us at 866-881-1184 at or fill out our secure contact form now to learn more about how our program can be a great fit for you and get started on your addiction recovery journey today!

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