Art therapy

Art therapy has emerged as a powerful tool in addiction rehabilitation and can help you to express yourself in ways that words alone often can’t. By tapping into your creativity, art therapy allows you to explore your emotions, gain insight into your addiction and develop new coping skills. Recovery Lighthouse offers this unique approach to addiction treatment as part of our holistic programme. Our expert team can guide you on your path to healing and recovery.

Art therapy - man drawing

Art therapy in addiction treatment

Art therapy is a relaxing alternative to traditional talking therapies that uses art as a means of self-expression and exploration. This approach can be particularly beneficial in addiction treatment, as it provides a safe and creative outlet for expressing complex emotions that are often difficult to say out loud.

Past trauma, mental health issues and stress can be leading causes of substance and behavioural addictions. Art therapy gives you the space you need to process these negative emotions and find inner peace, providing a relaxing alternative to traditional talking therapies.

A previous client, Carl, shares his experiences from art therapy, saying:

“The arts got me out of my head and got me thinking. Started understanding that I was quite a dark person, even without the drink and drugs.”

Through art therapy, you can delve into your mind’s inner workings and develop a deeper understanding of yourself. With this clarity, you can tend to your emotional wounds and move forwards in a more positive and healthy way.

What to expect in art therapy

Art therapy for addiction typically involve a combination of creative expression and therapeutic discussion. This is implemented via three distinct methods, including:

  • Gestalt method: this method asks you to create a piece of artwork and then verbalise the thoughts and feelings behind it. The art is essentially used as a springboard for wider discussions.
  • Active imagination method: this method allows you the freedom to paint or draw whatever your imagination desires. Your therapist may ask questions about your artwork and link it back to your emotions.
  • Third-hand method: in this method, your therapist will create a drawing or painting based on your instructions. This is particularly useful if you struggle with communication and can build the skills needed to express yourself.

Each method of art therapy is designed to provide a safe, supportive and non-threatening environment where you can focus on self-exploration. This can take place in both individual and group therapy sessions under the guidance of a fully qualified therapist.

Will art therapy work for me?

Studies have found that art therapy can facilitate a breakthrough in addiction recovery, moving participants out of denial and allowing them to access internalised emotions. It can be particularly effective if you find yourself struggling to articulate your thoughts and feelings verbally.

Of course, everyone’s experience with art therapy is unique, and it may not be the right fit for everyone. However, if you are open to exploring new ways of expressing yourself and working through the experiences that led to your addiction, art therapy can be a valuable tool to support your recovery journey.

Remember that you do not need to be an artist to benefit from art therapy for addiction. It is important, however, to keep an open mind and engage in the sessions fully. In doing so, you might just find something that truly resonates with you. Many of our clients are hesitant to participate in art therapy at first but actually come to find the sessions thoroughly enjoyable, with many still practising long after they leave our rehab facility.

Art therapy - man painting

Does art therapy complement other therapies?

At Recovery Lighthouse, art therapy is used alongside a wide range of treatments to provide our clients with the best possible chance of success. Art therapy works well in conjunction with:

  • 12-step therapy: Going through the 12 steps of recovery can be emotionally draining, but art therapy gives you a break to relax, enjoy and let go.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): This form of therapy is largely based on understanding your thoughts and behaviours, and art therapy can be used to uncover these in more depth.
  • Dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT): The aim of DBT is to develop the ability to regulate emotions and manage stress, and art therapy can play a crucial role in this too.

We recognise the importance of all-encompassing rehab treatment that focuses on physical, psychological and spiritual recovery. This is reflected in our comprehensive programme which has helped hundreds of people overcome their addictions.

The next step

Using art as a means to unlock emotional healing can be powerful, and taking advantage of this during your inpatient rehab stay can make all the difference to your recovery. If you are ready to unlock your full potential and begin treatment with Recovery Lighthouse, call our admissions team today.

Frequently asked questions

What kind of activities are involved in art therapy?
During your art therapy session you can expect to participate in drawing and painting, as well as collage making, clay sculpting and writing stories or poems.
Is art therapy just like a regular art class?
Art therapy differs from a regular art class as the focus is more about expression and your emotions, rather than the technical aspect of art. Art therapy is a therapeutic process, whereas regular art classes only aim to create a piece of artwork.
Who leads the art therapy sessions at Recovery Lighthouse?
A qualified art therapist will lead the sessions at Recovery Lighthouse. They will guide the session and ask questions about your artwork in order to link it back to your thoughts and feelings.