One of the primary concepts behind any form of treatment for addiction disorder is the importance of learning how to express one’s psychological needs, sometimes in unconventional ways. This applies to both the traditional and the holistic approaches in modern addiction counseling practices. Many individuals who turn to drugs or alcohol do so based on the perception of unmet personal needs, which ultimately engenders persistent negative states — feelings, such as isolation and dissatisfaction, which develop to the point where they affect every aspect of an individual’s life.

Much like a given person’s psychological needs, the means by which they are able to express those needs are very distinct; they vary, from one individual to the next. Among some of the least esoteric possibilities are different styles of painting, writing, sculpting, composing music, and building models. There are many other possibilities; some people collect and organize items related to their hobbies, or dress in a certain style. The possibility of creative expression allows for multiple potential avenues of expressing a person’s previously unsatisfied needs, improving one’s chances of finding the most effective method. 

Through personal creative expression, individuals undergoing addiction treatment are encouraged to find ways to better understand their mental and emotional states. From there, they can work towards their own recovery, assisted by guided behavioral therapy and other techniques. Subsequent therapy often relies on a combination of methods: someone dealing with cravings and unmet emotional needs may learn coping skills to help confront challenging life circumstances. At the same time, they may learn to adopt an alternate perspective through a more mindful and intentional point of view. 

Coping with Cravings through Creative Expression

As with most aspects of addiction treatment, West Coast Recovery Center focuses on a blend of both approaches, working out the balance that works best for each client. Treatment combines elements of modern western psychology and traditional holistic practices, based upon each person’s unique needs. Clients have access to professional quality production equipment for music, painting, and other creative arts. Working with experienced counselors and creative professionals, they learn to put together highly individual compositions, as well as how to market them through cloud-based applications online. 

This type of therapy has many demonstrable benefits: it helps to manage cravings, to cope with stress, and to build confidence and self-esteem. Clients learn that they are capable of achieving success without the focus of their respective addictions, while picking up valuable and widely applicable life skills. Studies show that, when coupled with a mindful living treatment program, the use of creative expression in addiction recovery dramatically reduces the rate of relapse. Former clients also express greater satisfaction with their lives, and much-improved self-confidence.

“Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.” 

—Leonard Bernstein