At Foundations Recovery Center, we offer several mental health therapies to support individuals working on their recovery from substance use disorder. One of these therapeutic options is expressive therapy.
When individuals come to our facility, our clinical team works alongside the client to design a treatment plan to meet their specific needs. Guided by our therapists, individuals, and groups will get the opportunity to explore themselves by exploring the creative arts. Expressive therapy helps individuals tap into and examine their addiction in a way that is not just verbal or discursive. When used with other more traditional therapies, expressive therapy helps individuals engage with creative arts in a manner designed to reach their recovery goals.
How to Get the Most Out of Expressive Therapy
Part of making a successful recovery means learning healthy coping mechanisms. One of the best ways to discover what kind of coping mechanisms work best for an individual is by fostering creativity. Expressive therapy is designed to give individuals the freedom to explore their creativity. However, to do so, it’s important to keep the following in mind:
- Honesty: Using art means being unafraid of expressing yourself. To do so means individuals need to be honest with how they feel and what they think. In therapy, clients are in a nonjudgmental zone to reflect and share without fear of being negatively criticized for their work.
- Freedom: In this type of therapy, individuals need to confront their inhibitions. Doing so can be a challenge, but, again, being in a safe therapeutic environment means clients can freely follow their whims and instincts to learn how best to express themselves.
- Non-judgmental: It’s far too easy for many people to overthink the art they are attempting to do in expressive therapy. Having complete freedom can be intimidating. It’s important not to let yourself become overwhelmed or feel there’s some specific end goal or judgment to be made.
Types of Expressive Therapy
Although talk therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy is a primary treatment for mental health issues and substance use disorder, other forms of therapy can be very effective depending on the individual’s needs. Expressive therapy is especially useful for discovering, confronting, and expressing ideas, feelings, and beliefs an individual is unaware of or doesn’t have the language or skill to recognize in themselves.
Expressive therapies can come in several forms. For example, depending on what might work best for a particular client, individuals may participate in:
- Art therapy: In this form, clients create media or images (like photography, painting, drawing, or collage) to process and reflect upon their development, abilities, personality, interests, concerns, and conflicts.
- Music therapy: Learning to play instruments is one aspect of music therapy, but listening to music, learning to mix or record music, and singing. This type of expressive therapy attempts to create positive changes in individuals’ psychological, emotional, or social understanding.
- Drama therapy: Theatre and drama offer therapeutic relief of symptoms related to a substance use disorder. This approach helps individuals tell their story but alter it to achieve resolution or explore others’ points of view.
- Dance/movement therapy: The mind and body are more connected than many people realize. In this form of expressive therapy, individuals learn how to process their emotional, cognitive, and physical needs by moving their body.
- Poetry therapy: This kind of therapy uses the writing, reading, and analysis of poetry and literature (fiction, nonfiction) to express and explore an individual’s understanding of the world.
Explore What Foundations Recovery Center Has to Offer
Expressive therapy is just one of the therapeutic options we offer at Foundations Recovery Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Individuals can take advantage of other therapies, such as: