Art + Recovery
“Art is a powerful thing; it is creative, it is calming, it is a powerful therapeutic tool.”
Creative approaches such as art allow people to express difficult thoughts, memories, and feelings without being constrained by words. It can give you the opportunity to express your inner thoughts, while helping you to better understand and make sense of your emotions and the world in which you live.
Having a creative experience has been shown to be healing in many ways. Here are a few examples:
- Creative approaches can help process feelings – so they don’t trigger a relapse. Shameful feelings are often more easily expressed through the use of imagery or symbolism than words.
- People who have experienced trauma are not yet ready to talk about it, may be able to describe their pain through art, or they may see their own pain in someone else’s creative expression. Creative approaches can be a stepping stone that allows people to eventually talk about their pain rather than escape through drugs or alcohol.
- Regulates emotions. – Engaging in a creative activity can open a new channel for people to connect with their emotions.
- Supports mastery in other areas. – People who participate in creative pursuits not only fuel their creativity, but they may also become more proficient in other aspects of their lives.
- Increases playfulness. – People are often so wounded by life that they forget what it is like to be childlike and carefree. Creativity can help connect people to a more fun, light-hearted part of themselves.
- Creates opportunities for “flow.” – Many artists describe getting lost in the creative process. Studies show creativity changes the brain and allows people an uninterrupted or purer focus. Creativity research calls it “flow.” And it’s described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi as the experience of “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake.” This optimal experience can help people feel more present and fulfilled.
Sources: The Priory, Psychology Today
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