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The pain, struggle and trauma associated with drug alcohol addiction as well as mental behavior issues can be difficult to put it mildly. That is why Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment Centers like Inspirations for Youth and Families are embracing Art therapy as a therapeutic intervention to treat addicted teens.

What is Art Therapy

Art Therapy to treat addiction is the practice of engaging a client through the use of creative media, including tie dying, collage, pottery, painting, drawing, pastels, sculpture and any other forms of expression as a part of a treatment program. Recovering drug alcohol addiction, troubled teens and anyone suffering from PTSD or other mental and emotional distress can benefit from art therapy. Often, art therapy is used in conjunction with other forms of therapy, including group and talk therapy.

The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) defines art therapy as, “the therapeutic use of art making, within a professional relationship, by people who experience illness, trauma or challenges in living, and by people who seek personal development.” Unlike your typical art class, an art therapy session focuses on the client’s thoughts and emotions, working toward developing self-expression rather than a set of art skills.

The origins of Art Therapy

The art therapy movement began in the middle of the 20th century as a way to use visual representations to gain a better understanding of a person’s mental conflict, and help in its resolution. Art therapy has been used in the treatment of a number of diseases, including cancer, Parkinson’s, AIDS, and depression. It is increasingly being used along with conventional therapy in the treatment of many psychiatric disorders. It has also been found effective in the treatment of substance abuse and addiction if you are not very good at verbalizing your feelings, or you find it difficult to clearly express your problems to your therapist. Sometimes art allows you to express yourself better than words.

Do I Need To Be Good At Art?

No, you do not need to be artistic to benefit from art therapy. No one is going to judge you on the quality of your art work. The focus is on what your art says about you and your thought process, and how this knowledge can be applied in your substance abuse treatment.

What Does an Art Therapist Do?

Art therapists are trained in both therapy and art, and have studied both psychology and human development. Art therapists can work with people of all ages, sex, creed, et al. They can help an individual, a couple, a family, or groups of people and depending on the situation, there may be numerous therapists working together as a clinical team.

Why Would I Use Art Therapy?

Art as therapy is generally used as a treatment for something – usually as an additional way to improve ones emotional state or mental well-being. Expressive art therapy doesn’t have to be used only as a treatment, it can also be used to relieve stress or tension, or as a mode of self-discovery. Many people can stand to use some sort of creative outlet.