Art and Creativity as Therapeutic Outlets

If you or someone close to you is struggling with addiction, finding a creative outlet can be an essential part of your treatment. Too often, people think of rehab programs and recovery as something boring and stilted, going from one sterile room with a linoleum floor to the next, only to sit through group therapy sessions. 

Today, we understand that there is much more to successful recovery, and that includes finding creative outlets and participating in programs that offer hands-on activities.

Art and Creativity as Therapeutic Outlets

Art therapy has been found to treat several disorders, including:

  • Injuries
  • Eating disorders
  • Sexual abuse
  • Bereavement
  • Grief
  • Addiction 

There are many benefits of art therapy, namely because the creative process provides a chance for better communication than some people might get just sitting in a group in a circle and talking about fears or anxiety. Art therapy is a therapeutic tool that doesn't necessarily involve sitting and talking with a therapist directly but can instead involve creative outlets that might help some people express their emotions in a nonverbal way.

Art therapy can help clients do things like confront low self-esteem by finding something that allows them to express themselves and pouring their creative energy into it, whether it's painting, molding things with clay, using coloring books, or even paper mache. Struggling with addiction or mental health disorders can cause low levels of self-esteem and make it feel like you have no control in your life, but art and creativity provide a way to slowly build your self-esteem and take back control.

Benefits of Art Therapy

There are several benefits to art therapy, including the following:

  • Art therapy can improve neuropsychiatric symptoms
  • Art therapy and creativity can boost self-esteem
  • Art therapy can improve social behavior
  • Art as a therapeutic tool can provide a source of happiness and pleasure, particularly when other activities no longer do so
  • Art therapy can be a form of mindfulness, engaging your attention in the present rather than the past or future

Art therapy can help you to forget about the problems you are struggling with and think about something that's unrelated to addiction, mental health issues, or recovery. This can be particularly beneficial when you are participating in a residential program where so much of your time and effort seems to revolve around recovery.

Art therapy can be enjoyable and help you keep your mind on things that are inspirational. This form of care also offers opportunities to remind yourself that you have creativity, strength, and control within yourself.


With art therapy, there are dozens of potential mediums you can use. There's a great deal of diversity in terms of the type of medium you use, and you don't need any artistic talent to start drawing, coloring, painting, or tearing up pieces of paper to make a collage. You can help connect to deeper emotions, release pent-up energy, reduce stress or pain, and bring about more control in your life.

  • Art therapy might include playing with finger paints or clay to release any tension you have physically.
  • Art therapy might involve making cards or drawing with colored pencils to reduce stress and improve your quality of life.
  • Struggles with anxiety or depression, especially panic attacks, can be alleviated with coloring books and painting where there are repetitive patterns. 
  • Torn paper collages can be beneficial for people who feel like life is out of control because it lets them take charge by tearing apart different types of construction paper and strategically placing them into a new piece of art, creating a mosaic.

Mental Health Benefits

One of the biggest benefits of art therapy is that it can be used as part of your treatment for any dual diagnosis situation. In dual diagnosis situations, individuals struggle with co-occurring mental health disorders alongside substance abuse disorders.

Things like anxiety disorders or depression can be effectively treated with art therapy as a therapeutic tool. Art therapy comes in so many forms, but things like anxiety coloring books can give people a sense of control when everything else feels out of control. Moreover, simple things like coloring books or other artistic endeavors don't require any background in drawing or painting. No level of skill is required to reap the benefits. Our drug rehab in New Jersey is here for you.