Tag Archive: music therapy

  1. The Long Term Benefits of Art Therapy in Addiction Treatment

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    art therapy teen artist

    When an individual is seeking treatment, several options can be available. Many addiction treatment centers offer people different kinds of therapy such as individual, group or alternative therapeutic support such as art therapy. Forms of art therapy are provided in combination with other expressions of healing and support to promote long term benefits for addiction recovery.

    Types of Art Therapy

    In art therapy, a person uses creativity and imagination to make art that expresses an individual’s self in a healthy, productive way. The goal of art therapy is for the person to expand forms of communication to better convey experiences. Art normally used in art therapy includes:

    • Painting
    • Sculpting
    • Dancing
    • Drawing
    • Acting
    • Music
    • Poetry

    How it Works

    SAMHSA’s Substance Abuse Treatment Group Therapy guide describes art therapy as a type of expressive group therapy to help people express thoughts and feelings that can’t be done with words. This is great for people who have underlying psychological issues or trauma related to addiction or even a history of mental health issues or abuse. Creating art is often a nonverbal process which expands the way a person conveys ideas and emotions. Art therapy provides an opportunity to explore, understand and resolve issues in one’s life that cannot be conveyed through regular talk therapy or other settings.

    Talking Through Images

    When a person does art therapy, it is a form of expression that uses images rather than words to discover insight and meaning. The three techniques art therapy commonly uses can include:

    • Gestalt where the person works out current feelings and experiences as an introduction to deeper conversation
    • Active imagination which uses artwork as a starting point where the person lets his mind roam in spontaneous free association, opening the door to introspection and discussion of feelings
    • Third-hand approach where the technique incorporates help from the therapist as if the person is still in control of the overall artistic vision while getting help from the therapist to produce the art

    Art therapy is a useful tool for individuals undergoing addiction treatment because it provides ways to understand and cope with addiction. Art and traditional therapy focus on helping a person practice introspection and healthy coping skills but art therapy can be a great form of expression into aspects of a person’s life previously untapped. In a group setting, art therapy can help people going through addiction treatment grow closer and better understand one another’s experiences and feelings.

    Sustain Recovery provides a unique approach to adolescent care with various treatment programs designed to help young men and women recover from addiction. Individual needs are assessed and a program is tailored to meet their needs. Call us if you need help for a loved one with addiction.

  2. Music Therapy in Addiction Recovery

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    Music has a powerful effect on the human psyche and our moods. It can be employed as entertainment or as therapy.  Music therapy has been shown to help people manage a variety of conditions, including—and especially—addiction. It’s an expanding field in the realm of addiction recovery and deserves a closer look for anyone looking for effective and alternative treatment methods for addiction.

    Music Therapy comes in many forms and helps to;

    1) help reduce stress levels by encouraging the relaxation response

    2) lower blood pressure and treat hypertension

    3) lessen the symptoms of depression

    4) provide cardiovascular benefit

    5) help improve communication abilities for people with autism (or related disorders)

    6) help people better cope with anxiety problems (life-skills)

    7) aid with meditation

    8) improve concentration levels

    9) encourage a more optimistic state of mind. The individual will be able to benefit from this increased positivity even after they have stopped listening.

    10) boost the body’s immune system

    11) reducing muscle tension

    12) help women cope better with the pain of labor.

    13) help people who are suffering from chronic pain.

    14) reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness

    15) help lessen symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

    16) relieve boredom

    17) increase spirituality

    18) provide emotional release


    Music Therapy in Addiction Recovery

    Music therapy isn’t as simple as letting patients hear their favorite songs; the music must be used in a controlled way. A music therapist is specially trained in using music to help a patient properly process emotions and work through blocks in treatment. The exact course of treatment—how the music will be used and why—is something that must be carefully decided. Each client is different and the way they respond to music will vary.  Different traumas and psychological states will require different methods of therapy. The therapy may or may not involve some type of music creation or performance.  Often it’s a listening endeavor that accompanies reflection, counseling, and actively processing the recovery process as the brain works to unlearn a dependency on substance for a healthy lifestyle.


    The Power of Music

    A lot of us take music for granted. We enjoy it, but we don’t realize just how large of an impact it has on our lives. Music can have a huge influence on emotions and mood–not just while we listen, but forever after. Happy songs can lift spirits; sad tunes can lead to despair; and for some people, it’s actually the opposite. What makes music so special is that it allows people to communicate their moods in a non-verbal or non-logical way.  It’s intuitive and flexible. Words can’t cover everything. It can be difficult to explain a mood; music can express it exactly.


    Music and the Psyche

    Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. It helps people better manage physical, emotional, or cognitive problems. The client is encouraged to interact with the music in different ways such as listening, singing, dancing, or writing their own tunes or discussing lyrics. It’s not randomly assigned; it plays off strengths and weaknesses with a focus on healing and the rebuilding of a strong core self, one that can process the traumas of the past that led to addiction and build a strong emotional and creative foundation for the path that lies ahead.  Sober living will require emotional fluency and a creative mind to overcome the triggers, cravings, and temptations that will cross one’s path, as well as to navigate the emotional turmoil of rebuilding a sober life.

    Music can be a key to that ongoing, lifelong process.

    For more information about transition services and aftercare programs for teens in recovery, contact Sustain Recovery today.


I first met Sayeh in November of 2013 just after my 15 year old daughter had been admitted to a residential treatment program. As part of the program I was required to attend 2-3 AlAnon meetings a week. Sayeh attended the same AlAnon meetings as well as Alumni events as I. It soon became apparent to me that Sayeh had a heart for recovery, program, and God. When I was encouraged to get a sponsor I didn’t hesitate. Dependable, respectful, kind and generous of spirit, she exudes an inner peace that I hope to achieve with her loving guidance, as I work my own program. She is patient, & full of wisdom that she is always happy to share with her sponsees and fellow parents. I am so grateful our journeys brought us together.

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