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How Art Therapy Helps Heal Recovering Addicts in Treatment

susan bates art therapist at the arbor

[tagline_box title=”Video Transcript” backgroundcolor=”#ffffff” shadow=”yes” shadowopacity=”0.1″ border=”1px” bordercolor=”#f4f4f4″ highlightposition=”top” content_alignment=”left” margin_top=”50″ margin_bottom=””]Today I’d like to talk with you about what art therapy is and some of the individuals that art therapy helps. Art therapy is a process of using creative process to express emotions, thoughts. It’s a way for clients to put parts of themselves down on paper. It allows them to express who they are in an environment that’s not threatening, not judgmental, not shaming.

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Often I work with clients that their feelings have been shut down or cut off for a long time either because they felt that it wasn’t safe to feel or they were given the message at some point in life that it was a weakness to show emotions, and so a lot of them have medicated, and art therapy gives them an opportunity to be able to express themselves in a nonthreatening, nonjudgmental way and allows them to be who they are. And often I have clients come in and tell me, “I’m not artistic. I can’t do this.” And I reassure them that it’s about the process and it’s not about how artistic they are or that they aren’t, and they can put down on that paper whatever they’d like in whatever form, shapes, colors, image, and there’s no right or wrong. It does challenge most of them to do something different from what they’ve ever done before, and that allows them when they put down that barrier and are willing to try something different, it allows them to express themselves and try something new which helps them break down their walls and start to build some trust and be able to express themselves freely and using different mediums. Different mediums can be used in different ways for different emotions or different personality traits. If we’re working with anger, I might ask them to work with some clay to express that anger. And if I have somebody with maybe perfectionism let’s say, I might ask them to use finger paint or water color or something like that, ‘cause it definitely will challenge that part of themselves, which as a therapist it gives me something to work with and help creating their plan for themselves while they’re here as part of their treatment plan and the team. In closing, I would like to invite anyone who’s interested to come out to The Arbor and express with us.[/tagline_box]