Expressive Arts Therapy: A Path of Healing for Those in Recovery

A common issue amongst many of us is how to express ourselves when we’re feeling angry, sad, anxious, etc. In the past, our society has set expectations for how we’re supposed to deal with painful emotions – with an unfortunate outcome being suppression. We hold it in, expecting the pain to fade away – but when it doesn’t, we find ourselves searching outside for solutions, and that’s oftentimes when addiction works its way into our lives. Recovery is a time for us to release the pent-up emotions that we’ve hid for so long, and expressive arts therapy can be a transformative way to reach these suppressed emotions that we may no longer know how to get to.

Expressive therapy is defined as, “…the use of art, music, dance/movement, drama, poetry/creative writing, play, and sand tray within the context of psychotherapy, counseling, rehabilitation or health care. 

Addiction recovery is about uncovering what we’ve held back for so many years, and expressive arts therapies allow us to dive deeper into the issues that we may not be able to put into words. Just how successful has expressive arts therapy been for those in addiction recovery?

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Addictions Nursing assessed 299 treatment centers and found that 36.8% of them offered expressive arts therapies; the ones that did, however, worked very well alongside 12-Step programs and reached some of the unique needs of those in recovery. Other studies have shown that expressive art therapies can help those in recovery make connections between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, which helps create an alignment within individuals’ recovery process. As a 2017 study published in the journal Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly states, there are several areas of recovery that expressive therapies can reach:

  •    Processing recovery
  •    Identifying triggers
  •    Developing coping strategies
  •    Instilling hope for sobriety

Don’t wait any longer to seek the help you need. With so many treatment modalities available, you’ll be able to find what works for you.

Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.

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