100 Art Therapy Exercises The Updated and Improved List The Art of Emotional Healing by Shelley Klammer

Many people are suggesting art therapy for substance abuse. Through working with these art forms, it may surface new emotions and triggers that will lead to a deeper understanding of one’s addiction. We will only discuss a few of the more common forms of creativity therapy, but keep in mind there are numerous ways for one to express themselves creatively. Throughout the ages, art has been used to tap into our deepest emotional and spiritual experiences.

recovery painting ideas

The participants should use colors that represent positivity and those that they enjoy the most. These enjoyable colors will aid in distracting from anxious minds. They can create a necklace, a keychain, a bracelet, or any string of beads that will benefit them the most. The activity starts with a guided meditation, where participants close their eyes and clear their minds. The activity leader explains the feeling of isolation or overwhelmingness and how light can be a guide back to feelings of hope. The participants will put together inspirational words or phrases that they feel define their core values.

Art Therapy Projects for Addiction Recovery

Instead of physically building a safe space for yourself, draw your most realistic version of a safe space you would like to go, filled with meaningful, nostalgic objects. Instead of writing, use a different type of journaling — your artwork — to tell a story and represent your emotions as events, both positive and negative, take place in your life. Paint positive memories or moments in an abstract art form. Draw or paint the emotions you felt when you had a spiritual experience.

  • They can create a necklace, a keychain, a bracelet, or any string of beads that will benefit them the most.
  • This art form is often used to relieve stress and relax the mind, making it a great tool for addiction recovery.
  • I ask the client to think of the flattened box as their ‘self’.
  • You may have experienced isolation from your family that is difficult to discuss.
  • This cherished aspect of her life further ignites her passion
    for helping others and creating a nurturing environment for her

This is key, because language often fails to fully communicate the intense emotions involved in the recovery process. Art therapy can offer a release of emotions and provide a tangible object you can discuss with a therapist and others. Art can also be an effective tool to combine with other aspects of treatment such as detox, counseling, and support groups. These therapists have specialized training in art therapy treatment for addiction and hold a master’s level degree or higher.

Art Therapy Ideas and Activities For Beginners

Music can be an excellent tool for calming the mind providing a way to manage stress. Art therapists use art and applied psychological theory and experience to make art therapy art therapy for addiction effective, as shown by this study from the American Art Therapy Association. The method engages mind, body, and spirit in a manner different from that of talk therapy.

Through art we can reach people who may have not taken the time to understand the growing issue we have in America around mental health. We can take back the narrative and provide a new way for the public to see how addiction impacts us all. Through a paint brush, ink pen, charcoal pencil or the gentle maneuvering of clay, art becomes the expression of emotions that words cannot explain.


If you're feeling painter's block, use the natural creases and edges of the rock to guide your aesthetic decisions. A few memory rocks down the road, you'll have a rock garden that instantly conjures recollections of your most joyous days, to help with the glum ones. Don't have the time (or the funds) to invest in a new batch of art tools? No worries, all you need to get creative is your own beautiful body. Explore the possibilities of your own anatomy -- the plush curves of your fingertip, the sharp edge of your nail, the capabilities of hand and foot and even hair, if you're feeling bold.

recovery painting ideas

Feel free to use images and words to recreate the layers you envision when you think of yourself. Think of the societal and self-imposed pressures you feel on a day-to-day basis, the personal traits you see as faults, the natural slips you see as errors. Choose one of these things and give yourself, in ornamental detail, permission to do just that. Turning one simple defeat into an accomplishment can minimize feelings of self-hatred, allowing you to achieve more of your important goals.

Art Projects Assist in Addiction Recovery

As ECHO continues our mission to support artists in recovery, we’re working as an organization to further our reach so we can help more people and give back in bigger ways. Art therapy provides a path to connecting with ones inner voice and can be a tool for those who need something to turn or help sustain their sobriety, long after professional treatment has ended. All of the above are repercussions from the misappropriation of the human “fight or flight” response that drug and alcohol addiction hijacks. As such, an individual can easily overreact to an everyday situation, compounding their problem and making it near impossible for social interaction and the ability to forge healthy relationships. Art moves us and allows us to make sense of the world around us.

The participants imagine heading toward the light, and they then draw and color their lighthouse, adding words that represent guidance and hope to them. The lighthouse activity has participants visualize being lost at sea and using the idea of a lighthouse as a point of guidance. This project is ideal for individuals who may feel lost, overwhelmed, and even isolated. The lighthouse activity is designed to give participants hope for their future. The box itself can also be decorated to demonstrate the individual’s idea of self-care. Encourage the artists to add affirmations they enjoy on the outside.

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