Art therapy

Art therapy is a type of psychotherapy that can help to untangle your mind and relieve the stresses of addiction through the medium of art. You do not have to be an artist to benefit from this treatment. Art therapy is merely a way to release negative thoughts and emotions, letting them go on the paper in front of you. Used alongside other therapies, art therapy can be highly beneficial throughout your addiction recovery, both during and after rehab.

Art therapy - person painting

Why is art therapy used in addiction treatment?

Art therapy provides a creative outlet that allows those suffering from addiction to express themselves in a healthy, safe way. It can be a useful tool for processing difficult emotions, providing you with the opportunity to analyse and connect with your inner self.

For many, trauma, mental health issues and stress are triggers for substance and behavioural addictions. You may use substances or certain behaviours to cope with negative emotions, but art therapy helps you develop new coping strategies that aim to relax the brain and body. It can offer a moment of peace for the over-thinking mind, helping to redirect your thoughts and recharge your batteries.

One of our former clients, Carl, reflects on his art therapy sessions, saying:

“The arts got me out of my head and got me thinking. Started understanding that I was quite a dark person, even without the drink and drugs.”

Through this form of addiction counselling, you can gain clarity on your inner self and grow as a result.

Art therapy: the methods

Art therapy is a versatile treatment that can be used throughout detox, rehab treatment and beyond. Everyone experiences addiction recovery differently, and our unique nature as humans means that we will not all resonate with the same things. For this reason, Banbury Lodge offers three art therapy methods.

Gestalt method

The Gestalt method encourages you to describe your artwork, the thought processes behind it and what the art represents. Your art is essentially used as a channel of communication, helping you to open up to your therapist on a deeper level.

Active imagination method

The active imagination method gives you freedom to be creative and go wherever your imagination takes you. During this time, your therapist will observe and ask specific questions related to your artwork with the aim of connecting it with your thoughts and emotions.

Third-hand method

The third-hand method is useful if you struggle with communication and expressing yourself. With this type of art therapy, you will instruct the therapist on what to draw or paint. They will create a piece of art under your guidance.

Each method of art therapy has its benefits and will impact you in different ways depending on your individual needs. It is important to go into art therapy with an open mind and participate in the session – this is the only way to find out what truly resonates with you, and you may be surprised at the results.

What will I gain from art therapy?

Art therapy is an unintimidating form of addiction treatment that can be hugely beneficial throughout addiction recovery. Taking part in art therapy can help you to gain:

  • Better communication skills
  • Ability to manage stress, anxiety and depression
  • Improved self-awareness
  • Increased confidence
  • Ability to heal emotional wounds
  • Ability to express your feelings in healthier ways

As well as these benefits, participating in art therapy can lead to the development of new hobbies and interests that you can continue back home. Some of our clients are hesitant when entering art therapy but come to find the sessions very enjoyable, and many still continue to practise art once they leave our facility.

Art therapy - person painting 2

Will art therapy cure my addiction?

At Banbury Lodge, art therapy is used in conjunction with a wide variety of therapies and holistic activities designed to help you overcome your addiction. Art therapy alone is not a cure for addiction, but when used as part of a well-rounded treatment programme, it is highly effective.

Addiction itself is often a life-long battle that requires a lot of ongoing hard work and dedication. Art therapy can be an incredibly useful resource at every stage of your recovery, and one that you can have access to at any time.

What’s next?

Tapping into your creative side through art therapy can unlock new potential in your daily life. This is a powerful tool and an important part of addiction recovery. With art therapy, you will be able to better understand your addiction and focus on making positive changes. If you would like to learn more about art therapy or get started on your own addiction recovery journey, contact the team at Banbury Lodge.

Frequently asked questions

Will a trained therapist lead art therapy?
Yes, this is the difference between art therapy and a regular art class. During art therapy, a trained therapist will guide the session, asking questions to uncover the thoughts and feelings behind your artwork. The emphasis here is on healing and self-expression, not artistic technical skills.
What activities are involved in art therapy?
Art comes in many different formats, and this is reflected in art therapy at Banbury Lodge. You will be able to take part in drawing, painting, making collages, clay sculpting and even writing stories or poems. These activities all provide an outlet for you to express your emotions and communicate through art.
Does art therapy work for everyone?
As with all types of therapy, art therapy may work for some people and not for others. Many people find art therapy an integral part of their rehab experience, while others prefer different treatment modalities. The most important thing is to try and embrace the process and take part, as you never know what might work for you.
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Who am I contacting?

Calls and contact requests are answered by admissions at

UK Addiction Treatment Group.

We look forward to helping you take your first step.

0203 553 3757