Oftentimes, experiences that bring us to therapy are difficult to explain/express initially in words. But how do we begin to participate in therapy if we are unable to talk about our difficulties? Art therapy may be the treatment approach right for you if these concerns arise.
What is art therapy?
Art therapy is an alternative treatment practice that combines art-making with traditional verbal therapy. By providing a non-verbal way of expressing/communicating through the creation of an image, verbal communication can be made easier by using the image as a reference point. The process of making the art is the focus in sessions and the imagery in the product aids in discussion/reflection, enabling self-awareness, insight, and achieving your therapeutic goals can then be achieved through a less confrontational method. For more information on the mental health benefits of art therapy, click here
Who is art therapy for?
Art therapy can help people of all ages express difficult thoughts and feelings by focusing on self-exploration and healing. You do not have to “be an artist” or be “good” at art to benefit from art therapy services. Some find it difficult to verbalize thoughts, feelings, and emotions, where art therapy provides a safe space to express/explore strong, sensitive, or destructive emotions. More information on who, where, and how art therapy works can be found here. It can be a refreshing change for someone who is seeking something different than traditional talk therapy.
Who can facilitate art therapy?
Art therapists are master-level clinicians who work with people of all ages as individuals, couples, families, and groups. Education and supervised training prepares them to work with diverse populations in various settings. Clinicians are guided by ethical, cultural, and practice-based considerations set by the Art Therapy Credentialing Board. As such, art therapy must be facilitated by those who have attended intensive field-specific training/education. Information on Right Path treatment center’s art therapist can be found here.
How does it relate to my addiction?
Similar to addiction treatment, the goal of art therapy is to promote healthy functioning. It can help resolve experiences, emotions, and issues that have led to/worsened one’s addiction. Feelings/experiences that are too painful/shameful to discuss can be expressed through drawing, paint, clay, or other media. Addiction can stem from many places (trauma, stress, environment), where people turn to substances for a variety of reasons. Creative activity gives a sense of control often lacking in life, where art becomes a coping strategy for recovery. Art therapy has been used in substance abuse treatment since the 1950s, where the Journal for Addictions Nursing conducted a study on its benefits in recovery, including decreasing denial/shame of addiction, increasing motivation to change, and providing a safe emotional outlet.
What do group sessions look like?
Art therapy can be a powerful complement to the 12 steps by making the core concepts less abstract. Group sessions create bonds among peers by sharing experiences and practicing skills alongside other members. Sessions typically involve a verbal check-in followed by art-making and ending with reflection/discussion. Art provides a visible, tangible object for discussion and insight uncovered through the power of the group.
I am an existing/potential new client and am interested. How do I sign up?
Art therapy groups current available at the Right Path, Virginia Beach location. Individual sessions are also available upon request. Sessions will count towards clients’ required group sessions as an alternative treatment approach. Please contact the office to schedule your appointment!