Traditional addiction programs, such as 12-step programs, counseling services and support groups, play a critical role in aiding patients recovering from addiction. However, the enormous amount of emotional stress required for recovery can still be a challenge. As Planet Singer explains, research shows that art and music therapy can provide an additional resource to help patients cope with the emotions raised during recovery.
The Benefits of Art Therapy.
So, what is Art Therapy, and how can it help? According to the Art Therapy Credentials Board, art therapy “uses art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork as a therapeutic and healing process” and is “practiced in mental health, rehabilitation, medical, educational, and forensic settings – as well as in private practice, in workshops and small-group settings.”
Clients use the visual arts, such as painting, drawing, and sculpture, to express emotions in a safe way. They don’t need to be an artist; they just need to pick up a brush or pencil and start.
The Benefits of Music Therapy.
Similar to art therapy, music therapy can also help the recovering addict. Studies have shown that music can help heal the brain, including damage caused by addiction. Again, participants do not need to have a natural talent or skill to engage in music therapy. They can participate in a number of ways, from singing and songwriting to analyzing lyrics.
Additional Benefits of Learning a Musical Instrument.
In addition to the benefits of recovery, playing an instrument can also have valuable health benefits for patients. For example, woodwinds such as the saxophone and clarinet improve the respiratory system because students must first learn to breathe properly. Playing an instrument also lowers blood pressure and promotes a healthy heart. Compared to other instruments, the saxophone is one of the easier ones to learn for patients who are interested.
As your talent blossoms, and if teaching others is a natural bent for you, consider starting a music or art business either on the side or as a full-time endeavor. Transforming a space like a spare room into a dedicated studio is a good first step. It’s also possible to outsource parts of your business’s operation, such as local SEO services for your website, so you can concentrate on what you do best.
Both Art and Music Aid In Recovery.
Additionally, The Journal of Addictions Nursing lists many benefits of art and music therapy that aid recovery:
- Decreases chances of a patient denying their substance abuse problem and other issues.
- Increases a patient’s willingness to enter and participate in treatment programs.
- It can be an effective outlet for communication.
- It lessens the shame patients feel about their past.
- Art and music therapy can facilitate group discussions.
- Motivates patients to be positive and make beneficial changes to their life.
- It may even decrease anxiety, depression, anger, and stress, especially music therapy.
Science clearly shows that art and music therapy provide recovering addicts an excellent outlet for self-expression and a good way to improve their self-esteem.
Integrating Art, Music, and Therapy.
Art and Music therapy is provided by professionals certified in this specialty. These therapists can guide the patient through the treatment by allowing them to share feelings through art or music. Alternatively, they can use the art itself first to guide him into opening up his feelings and experiences. No one technique is better than another. Patients are free to explore art, music, or singing, even in-depth, if they wish. Most therapists will only be trained in one or the other. You can find a qualified therapist at the British Association of Art Therapists’ website.
A therapist trained in art and music therapy can guide patients to safe and effective addiction recovery. It can provide additional physical and mental health benefits like stress reduction and improved self-esteem. Patients can even add a new skill like professional singing to their new lives in recovery.
Author: Jennifer Scott
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