Art Therapy to Aid in Addiction

Creativity is like a balm for the fretful mind. It’s a healthy way to escape from and handle stress and an excellent way to explore your feelings, especially surrounding addiction and negative emotions. Even the simple act of coloring can make you feel more positive and relaxed, and that’s good for everyone, no matter where you’re starting.

In the realm of recovery, drug rehab centers are quickly realizing the benefit of specific art therapies like these within treatment.

Vision Boards

A vision board is a piece of Bristol board, cardboard, canvas, or pin board that contains the patient’s hopes, dreams, and goals, either in general life or in recovery. It serves as a reminder of what they’re working toward and what can be possible if patients stay on the path. Colorful, fun, humorous, and inspirational additions are highly encouraged, as are items like self-directed love notes, encouragement, tips, and beloved or treasured items.

Some patients keep two vision boards—the first for their recovery and the second for general life. This is a fantastic way to keep chips and ribbons where you can see them easily each day.

Personal Masks

Note: Because the process of taking a facial cast can be somewhat restrictive, this one may not be appropriate for particularly sensitive patients. Be sure to discuss the process first.

This project takes a bit more effort but can help addicts to uncover hidden emotions about themselves. It starts with taking a mold of the patient’s face with plaster gauze or air-drying clay. Lay the plaster gauze or clay in strips over the face, molding it to the patient’s unique features. Once the entire face is covered, carefully lift it off and allow it to dry.

Next, the patient draws a line down the middle of the mask. On the left side, they paint, draw, or decorate the face to represent who they were before they became addicted to drugs. On the right side is the person they became after addiction or how they see themselves in recovery.

The end result creates an excellent discussion point for a therapist and the patient that touches on everything from self-esteem to negative self-talk.


For patients in recovery who love to dance, move, and express themselves physically, dancing or acting out skits can be an amazing way to channel positive and negative emotions. This can come in many forms; some facilities host free movement dance sessions in which patients are encouraged to express their emotions through dance, while others use the power of roleplay to inspire group growth via skits.

Art Therapy to Aid in Addiction

Patients can also use dancing to improve mood, boost motivation, and let go of stressors before turning to substances. If you’re a Grey’s Anatomy fan, you’ll recognize this best as Meredith’s “dance it out” moments. Research does show that even just a few minutes of dancing can boost endorphins and make us feel better about ourselves!

Addiction is one of the most common problems facing American citizens today. If you’re struggling, know that there’s no shame in reaching out for help. No one can handle addiction and recovery entirely on their own, no matter how minor or serious the addiction. Call Florida Coast Recovery today to get started on your personal growth path.