Addiction is a complex disease that typically requires several different therapeutic modalities to thoroughly treat. Aside from the typical therapies such as individual therapy, group therapy, and behavioral therapy, there are additional forms of care that can help heal those grappling with addiction and other mental health conditions heal from the inside out.
Two of those types of care include music therapy and art therapy. Considered more of an experiential therapy, both music and art therapy have proven to be highly beneficial for those who are recovering from addictions to substances like opioids, benzodiazepines, and alcohol. They are most effective when applied in combination with other evidence-based treatments, and are typically offered in treatment centers throughout the country.
Both forms of therapy include their own exercises and provide benefits separate from one another. However, many of those who participate in one form of this type of therapy often engage in the other.
While music therapy is often categorized as an experiential therapy, it is an evidence-based therapy that has proven success in the addiction treatment space.
Music therapy works to help individuals encourage mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual healing within themselves while recovering from addiction. During a music therapy session, a music therapist will review the strengths of each client in order to provide the right course of care, which can include moving to music, singing, creating music, or simply listening to music. During the exercises that the music therapist picks for the clients, he or she will also utilize therapeutic modalities to help individuals take what they have learned through their participation in music therapy and apply it to their personal recovery.
Some of the many ways that individuals continually apply music therapy to their lives include learning to play an instrument, meditating to music, writing songs, and creating playlists to actively listen to.
Music therapy has the ability to help those who are recovering from addiction in a number of various ways.
When addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, people can often become closed off and defensive, and start manipulating others or lying in order to keep using. However, when addictive substances have been cleared from the system and these behaviors start decreasing, music therapy can begin to help individuals identify the emotions that they are feeling and continue to uncover their overall emotional state as it pertains to their active addiction and their recovery.
Playing music, listening to music, and writing music key into one’s emotions. As music therapy is applied to their lives, they can begin utilizing it as a means of self-expression. For example, when an individual feels upset over something pertaining to his or her emotional state, he or she can turn to music as a way to get that feeling out so that it can be appropriately managed.
The majority of people who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol often grapple with self-esteem issues. For some, their lack of self-esteem serves as one of the main causes behind the development of their addiction. However, through music therapy, individuals can build up their self-esteem by learning to play an instrument or finding out that they enjoy writing song lyrics. And, by using music to process emotions, they can start to feel relieved from the burden of stressors, which can improve how he or she feels about him or herself.
Art therapy encourages individuals to express themselves, tap into their emotions, and build self-confidence by engaging in several different forms of art. The focus of this specific kind of therapy is to help individuals better communicate his or her feelings, wants, and needs.
Art therapy sessions can include a wide variety of different kinds of art for individuals to engage in. Some of the most common art therapy activities include painting, drawing, and sculpting. Other forms of art therapy include dancing, acting, and reading/writing poetry. Art therapy is conducted in a group setting, allowing individuals to gather together and communicate through different mediums other than talking.
Art therapy can produce a multitude of benefits for a participant, ranging from developing social skills to exploring emotions and more. Some standout benefits can include the following:
Those who struggle with the disease of alcoholism know that even when they stop drinking and/or abusing drugs, their addictive behaviors can still linger. Art therapy can allow individuals the opportunity to identify those behaviors and express how they relate to their lives through the use of art. For example, an individual can paint a self-portrait to illustrate how he or she feels in regards to the addictive behaviors they still struggle with. Through talking about the self-portrait, an art therapist can help him or her sort out those emotions in ways that promote healing.
Participating in an art activity like sculpting or drawing can help to “rewire” the brain. Therefore, those who often struggle with anxiety can turn to art as a way to relax the brain so that symptoms related to anxiety can be minimized. Art therapy can also serve as a form of stress reduction, as channeling energy into something therapeutic like this activity can help promote mindfulness, which is designed to decrease stress.
Art therapy has also proven to help individuals resolve emotional conflicts, improve their social skills, and build a strong sense of wellbeing.
If you are struggling with a substance abuse problem, do not let one more day go by without getting the help you deserve. Reach out to our Music and Art Therapy In Charlotte right now to begin the journey towards recovery.