Sober living

Art making and expressive art therapy in adult health and nursing care: A scoping review

Ask for feedback and advice from the rest of the group. Have the group identify and discuss common triggers for substance abuse. Suggest different coping strategies they could use to stay sober when triggered. These groups support recovery by providing a judgment-free environment where members can show acceptance and offer validation.

The approach is used as a means to relieve stress, increase self-esteem and awareness, and for post-traumatic recovery aims. Mostly, other forms of therapy use verbal language to express feelings and overcome personal obstacles. On the contrary, art therapy allows for more abstract forms of communication. This tactic involves the manifestation of elements of the subconscious, for which there is no willingness or ability to be voiced. Remember to take the needs of each individual into account, even during group art therapy activities. By providing various options for expression, the therapy can be made more individualistic and impactful — rather than if you encouraged everyone to simply paint using watercolors, for example.

Ways Creativity Supports Addiction Recovery

This project can also promote mindfulness and introspection. Negative, judgmental thoughts can cloud the mind, creating a harsh environment in an individual’s head and hindering recovery. Creating a collage of “words to live by” helps these individuals identify who they are and understand the core values they want to live by. A “words to live by” collage can be created individually or in a group setting.

creative expression activities for adults in recovery

Poetry writing is a central technique in expressive arts therapy that aims to mobilize artistic language, symbolism, and poesy as the source of creative expression. Clients can be encouraged to write expressively but also share poems written by others that have moved them. It can help clients clarify thoughts and feelings and forge a deeper connection to their needs, aspirations, and goals. This activity can also be continued between sessions as an adjunct to therapy then discussed during sessions. In this article, expressive arts therapist Shelley Klammer explains the wider benefits of expressive journaling. Creative arts therapies include art therapy, dance therapy, music therapy, drama therapy, and writing therapy.

The Healing Power of Expressive Arts

Much of the time, stress is one of the core reasons an addiction develops in the first place. Many individuals in recovery from substance dependency developed their addiction as a result of stress or difficulties within their lives. Some pre-linguistic symptoms from trauma, grief, addiction, and anxiety may be inaccessible to conventional language processing.

  • This exercise hones hand coordination, helps to overcome stress.
  • This exercise improves creative vision, relieves emotional stress.
  • Granite Recovery Centers has been transforming the lives of alcohol and drug dependent adults from New England and well beyond.
  • This activity is again suitable for individuals or a group and involves slowing down through mindfully looking at photos to relieve stress through appreciation.
  • The activity starts with a guided meditation, where participants close their eyes and clear their minds.

The treatment is overseen by a trained art therapist who helps patients interpret their experiences and explore strong emotions in a healthy way. There are many art therapy activities that can support the substance abuse recovery process, but here are some useful examples. Spill out on paper with the help of paints all negative emotions in relation to any person or event. This exercise helps to remove negativity and teaches you to understand your emotional state. I’ll give the pain to paper art therapy ideas. Place diluted watercolor paint in a cocktail straw and blow onto a piece of paper.

The Role of Creativity in the Recovery Process

Just like exercise can benefit your body, expressing yourself creatively can enrich your soul. It can give you a sense of purpose and accomplishment when you complete something. Though it might seem silly, if you think back to when you were a child, you were always excited to share artwork or a good mark on an assignment with someone else. It also just felt good to know that you did it. Recovery, as we all know, involves a lot of healing. It is your body and mind essentially regenerating after the period of time you were using a substance or substances, and its growth was halted.

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Her immense guilt seemed to rule her decision-making more often than not, and it seemed to extinguish any instincts she may have felt with regard to self-care. In my experience, it’s most helpful to leave some parts of the activity open-ended. In other words, don’t specify what kind of bridge or body of water they should depict. Clients start by dividing a piece of paper into three sections. This version of the bridge drawing technique comes from the Handbook of Art Therapy, from the section on clinical application with adults. In the chapter on using art in counseling, Gladding and Newsome (2007) describe a solution-focused bridge drawing.

ART PROMPT:  Bob Ross Paint-Along

Many people who are addicted to alcohol or drugs also suffer from alexithymia, meaning they are unable to identify and describe emotions they–or others–experience. Since they lack emotional awareness, they don’t understand how others feel or what they themselves are feeling. They are also unable to put their feelings into words. For these people and many others in recovery, creative arts therapy allows them a safer way to express their difficult memories, feelings, and thoughts without having to use words.

There are so many variations for how to use boxes and containers in your work with adults. You could also use a ready-made container to build upon. For the purposes of this exercise, I prefer to use these small premade cardboard boxes that get assembled by hand (see below). When they are finished, give them a chance to present what they have created.

Stir flour, salt, sunflower oil, gouache, water and create a drawing with your hands. Exercise helps to overcome emotional stress, develops imagination. Apply yellow on a sheet of paper, apply blue on top of it.

Participants can start by creating their jar out of clay, as the process of molding clay can be a relaxing experience. They can also decorate or paint a wooden box that will hold the memorable items or self-care trinkets. The box can also be a simple cardboard box or art therapy for addiction ideas a box the individual has an attachment to, such as a small jewelry box. The participants will put together inspirational words or phrases that they feel define their core values. Glue the phrases onto the cardboard to create a collage of positive, self-healing words.

An emblem is a distinctive sign that depicts a symbol of an idea or person. The exercise forms an idea of oneself, awareness of one’s interests and aspirations. My family’s coat of arms art therapy ideas. Use generalized knowledge about the history of your family to make the coat of arms of your family. Exercise forms an understanding of family values, strengthens blood ties.

creative expression activities for adults in recovery

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