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There are many pillars to a successful and sustainable recovery. These include therapy, support group meetings, and other methods for maintaining recovery. Along with evidence-based modalities, many holistic practices can help people stay sober. This includes creative expression. In particular, music and art therapies can help throughout your recovery journey. 

We at West Coast Recovery Centers value the therapeutic benefits of creative expression. According to research, creativity can decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression and increase enjoyment and satisfaction. For that reason, we offer creative arts groups weekly for clients. This helps them engage with their emotional bodies in ways they can’t illustrate verbally. Music and art can help with this process. To begin your recovery journey and to learn more, contact West Coast Recovery Centers today. 

What Are the Benefits of Creative Expression on Addiction Recovery?

Nowadays, there’s a whole laundry list of alternative ways people use to try and stay sober and abstain from substance use. That includes the creative arts. Creative forms like music, art, dance, and creative writing can provide a healthy outlet to express yourself. These also offer a healthy outlet to communicate your thoughts, experiences, and emotions. Finding a creative, self-expressive outlet is particularly beneficial when struggling with negative feelings or distressing experiences. 

In many cases, creative expression can help people work through things that are sometimes too painful or triggering to tackle through traditional treatment modalities. The creative process helps people better understand these experiences and teaches them something meaningful about themselves. Some of the other benefits of creative expression or creative arts therapy in recovery include : 

  • Improving cognitive function 
  • Healing past traumas 
  • Working through shame 
  • Reducing stress
  • Managing symptoms of a mental illness 

Some may not consider experimenting with creative expression if they don’t consider themselves creative. However, creative expression is less about the product and more about the process. Creative outlets like dance, photography, and writing are cathartic. The same goes for music and art. 

What Is Music and Art Therapy?

The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) describes music therapy as the “clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions.” These music interventions focus on accomplishing goals within a therapeutic setting, such as addiction treatment and recovery. Music therapy can help promote wellness, manage stress, express feelings, and improve communication. For that reason, music therapy is viable for use in an addiction treatment setting. It can be exceptionally effective when someone struggles with communicating complete emotions. 

Art therapy is a similar practice. The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) defines art therapy as a mental health practice that “enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities.” It does this through “active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.” Many people use art therapy to help them deal with anxiety and depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or to manage stress better.

Some of the other benefits of music and art therapy include their ability to:

  • Improve overall mental, physical, and emotional well-being 
  • Reduce symptoms of psychological and physical health conditions 
  • Enhance cognitive function and concentration 
  • Provide a healthy outlet for negative thoughts and emotions 
  • Aid in trauma processing and the modification of unhealthy patterns 
  • Improve overall communication skills and enhance how we express ourselves 

As mentioned, art and music can help people manage mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, but what about substance use disorder (SUD)? 

Using Music and Art in the Recovery Journey

The short answer to our question posed above is yes, music and art can help people struggling with SUD. People experience so many complex emotions during their addiction recovery journey. They must deal with feelings of guilt and shame while making amends for their past and abstaining from substances. It’s no wonder that the process feels overwhelming. Outlets like music and art can sometimes help them communicate those feelings more effectively than words. 

Of course, music and art therapy are different despite working toward the same goal. For starters, art therapy is more visual. Because of this, art therapy may help interpret what someone is saying through the art itself. Music therapy is different. For instance, a music therapist may have someone listen to a piece and then use it to express complex emotions. Both implementations are very different, but they can produce an effective result in the proper setting. 

Try Music and Art Therapy Today!

The efficacy of music and art therapy is no different than evidence-based modalities – it depends on the person. Some people are enormously receptive while others may not experience the same results. In any case, the best way to judge their effectiveness is by trying. 

Outside of treatment, you can also experiment with other creative outlets. Artistic forms of therapy can be helpful both during treatment and after. Consider experimenting with various forms to help with your SUD, and consider West Coast Recovery for your treatment journey today.

There are a number of ways people stay sober. Some are more receptive to traditional evidence-based modalities, while others find attending therapy and support groups most productive. However, there are other alternative ways to recover from substance use disorder (SUD) and stay sober. Among these alternative therapies are music and art therapy. These, like other creative expressions like music, art, creative writing, or dance, can help people manage symptoms, reduce cravings, and communicate complex emotions more effectively than words can. Though different, music and art therapy have one primary goal – to help individuals with SUD recover and live a long life of sobriety. Call West Coast Recovery Centers at (760) 492-6509 for more information today. 

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