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What Are the Benefits of Art Therapy?

Hands of a person experiencing art therapy benefits

Art therapy is an integrative mental health profession led by an art therapist who holds a master’s-level or higher degree and is trained in art and psychotherapy. Art therapy benefits include being adaptable enough to serve a diverse range of individuals in various settings. In mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, an art therapy program can be part of an integrated, comprehensive approach to individualized care.

Ashwood Recovery is an outpatient treatment center in Boise, Idaho, committed to helping individuals and families overcome struggles with mental health, SUD, and co-occurring disorders to discover lasting recovery. We provide the same quality of care we would want for our loved ones. Contact the Ashwood Recovery team at 888.341.3607 to learn how an art therapy program can benefit you or your loved one.

A Brief History of Art Therapy

The origins of art therapy can be traced back to various cultures and historical periods throughout human history. In ancient Egypt, art was believed to have magical and healing powers. In the 19th century, the French psychotherapist Phillipe Pinel advocated using art and occupational activities to treat mental health.

In the early 20th century, several influential people made significant contributions to the development of modern art therapy. Margaret Naumburg is credited as a pioneer in art therapy because she developed a psychoanalytic approach, emphasizing the importance of creative expression as a means of self-expression and emotional healing.

Artist Adrian Hill used art as a means of expression during tuberculosis treatment. He coined “art therapy” in the 1940s and advocated for its use in medical settings. Art therapy gained recognition as an effective therapeutic approach during and after WWII when it was used with veterans.

In the latter half of the 29th century, organizations and associations like the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) contributed to establishing ethical guidelines, standards of practice, and formal training programs. Since then, art therapy has continued to evolve and expand to include specialized applications for mental health treatment, addiction recovery, and community settings.

The Benefits of Art Therapy

Art therapy sessions are led by a trained and licensed art therapist who offers patients a choice of activities, empowering them in decision-making. Through the creative process, the therapist and patient can gain insight into the patient’s repressed or unconscious thoughts and feelings.

Art therapy is a valuable tool for supporting mental health and overall well-being. A significant benefit is that it allows patients to process unresolved trauma and complex thoughts and feelings without verbalizing them. Other benefits of art therapy include:

  • Fostering problem-solving and resilience
  • Promoting self-awareness
  • Improving coping skills
  • Resolving emotional conflict
  • Improving social and communication skills
  • Reducing anxiety and negative thinking
  • Building self-esteem
  • Relieving stress

Because there is a strong connection between mental health and SUDs, art therapy—as part of an overall recovery treatment plan—focuses on helping patients address the underlying feelings and experiences contributing to their SUDs.

Art therapy can involve a specific assignment where patients are asked to answer a particular question through their art or be more abstract and open to exploration. Overall, the benefits of art therapy are far-reaching, providing patients with skills they can apply to everyday life and aiding them in maintaining lasting recovery.

What to Expect from Our Art Therapy Program in Idaho

Our art therapy program can be an integral part of treatment for SUDs and other mental health conditions, including, but not limited to:

  • Alcohol addiction treatment
  • Cocaine addiction treatment
  • Prescription drug addiction treatment
  • Opiate addiction treatment
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) treatment
  • Bipolar disorder treatment
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment
  • Depression treatment

Traditional therapies for SUD and co-occurring disorders have numerous benefits. We at Ashwood Recovery believe incorporating holistic therapies with conventional, evidence-based treatments provides the most comprehensive approach to lasting recovery.

Experience Art Therapy Progam Benefits in Idaho at Ashwood Recovery

You are not alone if you struggle with your mental health or addiction. Ashwood Recovery can provide the care you need to overcome challenges and reclaim your well-being to live your best life. Contact Ashwood Recovery today at 888.341.3607 for more information on the benefits of our art therapy program in Idaho.