How are Music and Art Therapy Used to Treat Addiction?

Music and art therapy are subsets of psychotherapy that promote personal growth and discovery for people in treatment for alcohol or drug addiction. Music and art often help patients unlock hidden emotions and allow them to explore emotions they’ve never been able to understand or express.

Music Therapy: History

Music therapy dates back to the 1970s. It’s a form of treatment that helps improve the overall functioning and mental stability of people in recovery. During music therapy, you do more than listen to music – you analyze lyrics, discover emotions that songs expose, and create music yourself. We use music therapy in combination with psychotherapy and group discussions to help you grow emotionally and psychologically.

Music Therapy at The Ridge

During residential treatment, we offer a weekly music therapy group. During the therapy group, you make music, listen to music, and discuss how music both evokes and helps express emotions that may have been hidden for years, or even decades. According to the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), this type of therapy helps anyone, regardless of musical background or ability.

Benefits of Music Therapy

Music therapy uses musical interaction as a form of communication to address your physical, psychological, cognitive, and social functioning. It helps you increase motivation, relieve muscle tension, decrease anxiety, develop coping skills, and improve group cohesion. Music is a form of sensory stimulation that elicits positive responses due to its familiarity, predictability, and the feelings of security it creates.

Benefits include:

  • Increased motivation
  • Reduced muscle tension
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Enhanced positivity
  • Increased focus and concentration
  • Reduced risk of relapse
  • Reduced depression, anxiety, stress, and anger
  • Increased coping skills
  • Enhanced mindfulness and relaxation
  • Increased willingness to stay in/complete treatment
  • Improved group cohesion

Art Therapy

Art therapy, which has been recognized as a valuable therapeutic tool since the 1950s, uses different artistic approaches to encourage personal and emotional growth and development. Art therapy involves creative activities that promote emotional release and self-expression. It also improves the ability to manage stress management and helps make the adjustment to a recovery lifestyle.

Research shows art therapy can help you express yourself in non-verbal ways, explore emotion through your personal creations, and relieve stress during difficult times. This type of therapy empowers you to discover aspects of your personality you may have never known existed. Art therapy helps increase your overall comfort and receptiveness to treatment and recovery. At The Ridge, we offer art therapy in addition to regular psychotherapy and group counseling sessions.

Benefits of Art Therapy

Art therapy can improve thinking and sensory-motor functioning, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, encourage insight, and nurture emotional intelligence. This form of therapy engages mind, body, and spirit in creative activity to develop effective recovery skills. It allows you to explore new and different ways to communicate, and promotes emotional, creative, and spiritual growth.

Benefits include:

  • Reduced denial
  • Improved cognitive ability
  • Improved sensory-motor functioning
  • Increased self-esteem and self-awareness
  • Decreased resistance to treatment
  • Improved communication skills
  • Enhanced emotional intelligence
  • Decreased shame and guilt
  • Increased motivation
  • Improved social skills in group settings

Music and Art: Treatment for the Whole Person

If you want to overcome drug or alcohol addiction, a multi-faceted approach is the best approach. What works for one individual might not work for the next. Music and art might not resonate with everyone, but for some people, art and music therapy create life-changing moments. In some cases, people resistant to treatment find that music and art breaks down their internal barriers to the treatment process, and allows them to embrace – and achieve – lifelong recovery.

The Ridge: Recovery for Life

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