Art Therapy

Healing through Creativity and Personal Expression

Art therapy is defined by the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) as the therapeutic use of art making, within a professional relationship, by people who experience illness, trauma and challenges in living, and by people who seek personal development.

Addiction and substance abuse are very often linked to trauma and underlying mental illness. The reality is that addiction takes hold in these circumstances because patients are unable to properly process or convey their emotions. They lack the vocabulary to articulate what they’re experiencing. Art therapy allows patients to confront their mental illness on a deeper and more intuitive level than simply relaying their experiences to their therapist. It enables patients to engage in a more expressive form therapy and convey their feelings through their art.

Increased Reflection and Self-Realization

Art therapy helps patients communicate and gain self-awareness where “talking” or conventional therapies fall short. It allows patients to display their internal issues to their therapist without having to hold back. Art therapy has been practiced for patients suffering all types of mental illness for over 70 years, and has allowed participants to achieve significant breakthroughs and move forward in their recovery. Seaside offers art therapy as part of a comprehensive treatment program specially tailored to each individual patient. It is particularly helpful for those having difficulty working through suppressed negative emotions and incidents that have been instrumental in the development of their addictions.

What Happens during Art Therapy?

Patients are encouraged to display their emotions through a variety of artistic media. They then work through the thought processes that led to their catharsis with their therapist. Art therapy can either be used as a continuing method of self-expression for patients struggling with their emotions, or a short-term avenue through which patients can work past their traumatic experiences. Patients who are interested in art therapy are encouraged to speak with their intake coordinator.