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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can art therapy help treat drug addiction?

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    Karen Adler

    Arts Therapist

    I am a Transpersonal Art Therapist, an artist, writer, curator and researcher. I am a firm believer in the inherent healing qualities of the Arts. … View Profile

    Art therapy is at its most powerful and effective when it’s utilised to express emotions, particularly extreme, ‘negative’ emotions. Many people self-medicate with drugs and alcohol as a way of dealing with difficult emotions and situations. Having another way of expressing emotions, working through difficult situations, gives a person attempting to eliminate their addiction an alternative to drugs or alcohol. It also helps with insight and self-knowledge and provides them with new life skills and a new way to ‘be’ around the substance. If you take away the physical part of the addiction but the person herself hasn’t changed, it’s really hard to expect them not to go back to their drug of addiction. Art therapy facilitates inner change and self-awareness which makes recovery more likely. Art therapy plus journaling enhance the mind-body connection, enables an addict to see more clearly the results of their addiction and makes self-responsibility more likely.

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