The arts have long held a vital place at the center of addiction treatment and recovery. Some treatment professionals and programs incorporate art therapy as a tool for their clients. The result is that clients have an excellent, non-traditional means of communication with others, including staff and peers. Participating in an official art therapy program with a trained clinician is one route to take, but creating art can be done without a formal curriculum. It’s easy to assemble art supplies to use at home and work at your own pace. A host of stores, including many online, provide tools needed for drawing, painting, sculpting, ceramics, and other artistic ways to express yourself. Some of the benefits of using art therapeutically include the ability to:
- Explore your emotions
- Express your feelings
- Cope with stress
- Lower anxiety levels
- Develop self-awareness
- Bring out your creative side
- Improve sensory-motor function
- Enhance social skills
Many universities offer degrees in art therapy for students who want to combine psychological treatment with an emphasis on art. Using art therapeutically can benefit mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other psychological disorders. Also, it is sometimes used as part of a treatment plan for cancer and other serious diseases. Some hospitals make a point of incorporating displayed art due to reports that it helps patients feel more relaxed and at home.
Don’t Let Fear of Being Bad at Art Stop You
Some people who can benefit from art therapy have a background in the area as a previous hobby. In contrast, others are new to the whole activity. While fear of not doing well manifests in many newbies, it’s important to fight that feeling and try your hand at it anyway. Time spent with a sketch pad or a canvas and paints developing your style can be done privately. If you choose a more public option, such as ceramics or sculpting class, you will likely be among other people who are new to the world of expressing themselves artistically. Everyone has to start somewhere, and learning with others is a great way to alleviate the fear of being judged.
Enjoying Art in Museums and Galleries
Seeing what other artists have created can spark ideas for your own artwork. Many people spend time in a museum or art gallery to gather inspiration and take it back home with them. While COVID-19 has hampered people’s ability to go to many public places, many museums and galleries offer social distancing experiences to the community. Check with locations in your area for their rules and hours of operation.
The internet allows everyone to enjoy free online visits to many of these same places without leaving home. An internet search will provide you with a list of options, including international museums, which you would otherwise never have the opportunity to visit. You can sit in your home and visit the Louvre in Paris, the Dali Theatre-Museum in Spain, the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, and a host of other exciting places that house some of the world’s greatest works of art. Look for smaller galleries that feature their local artists to round out your virtual art history lessons.
Using Collage to Bring Your Inner Self Into Focus
Art is not limited to just painting, drawing, and sculpture. Doing collages offers a way to exercise your creativity and express your thoughts and emotions. Gather sources like magazines, newspapers, scraps of paper, greeting cards, or colorful advertising inserts from the mail. Select images and words that ring true to your current emotions and cut them out. Use glue or double-sided tape to adhere items you have cut out to a strong piece of paper or poster board. Let your instincts guide you as to how you lay everything out in your collage. The resulting colorful amalgamation serves not only as your personal artwork but an alternative way to gather your thoughts and feelings in a way that helps you process them.
Coloring Books Aren’t Just For Kids Anymore
Children are typically thought of as the beneficiaries of using coloring books as an art therapy approach. Using crayons, colored pencils, and markers to help children soothingly express themselves can help reveal details of their psychological state to their therapists. In fact, coloring books are not just for kids anymore. Many adults find it soothing to set aside part of their day to experience quiet time with an artistic bent. A wide array of adult coloring books are available and have become a popular choice for people who want to revisit the simple joy of spending time coloring.
Art therapy done by a professional therapist can offer many perks to someone suffering from a mental health disorder but incorporating an informal art program on your own also has its benefits. The act of drawing, painting, sculpting, doing ceramics, and even using coloring books helps people identify and express their emotions while relieving stress and anxiety. At Silver Lining, we understand the difficulties of managing your mental health. We offer several treatment modalities to fit your needs. We work around your schedule with both day and evening appointment options, including individual and group therapy, couples counseling, 12-step programs, and trauma-based counseling. Our team of experts is ready to help you put together a plan to manage your mental health needs, lower your stress levels, and begin the new year with excitement and confidence about your future. Call us now and find out how to get started! (866) 448-4563