Healing from the Inside Out: The profound effects of Art Therapy

“Creativity gives rise to the limited out of the unlimited, To sanity out of madness, To the valuable out of the priceless, To abundance out of nothingness, To the original out of the familiar, And to hope out of despair.” -Wallace Huey

We come in from the whirlwind of addiction hopeless, broken, and searching for meaning out of all we have been through and all we have put ourselves through. The process of recovery can be likened unto a re-creation: of the Self, of Life, of our whole identity as we have known it. It is a process of creating space where there has been suffocation; creating ease where there has been suffering and struggle; and creating new ways of being in the world, when old ways have failed us and trapped us in vicious cycles of despair. One powerful way to bring old ideas that aren’t serving to light, and move energy from stuck places- mentally, physically, and emotionally- into free-flowing positive direction, is through the vibrant and diverse therapeutic platform of art therapy.

Art therapy is a catalyst for healing on so many levels, and can bring up fears and the courage to face them, in a single image or a vibrant array of brush strokes and paint splatters. There is no wrong way to create art, a freeing truth for those that have confined themselves in an atmosphere of “wrong” and “inappropriate” through the inner violence, shame, and suffering that comes along with the bleak horizon of an addiction-ridden life.What’s involved in this magical expression of healing and discovery? How effective is it in bringing people to new places of freedom and hope? And what are some of the ways an individual in a treatment program, such as Oasis Recovery, can expect to experience this liberating adventure? Read on and be prepared to be inspired perhaps, to create in some capacity, to free that inner being through the plethora of available avenues for artistic expression available to us all; artistic novices and experienced expressers alike. In the beginning, there was inspiration to create…

Art Therapy consists of a variety of different practices of creative expression led by a trained facilitator, who is able to accompany people’s efforts, provide support, and assist in processing the experience of creating for the sake of healing and personal growth. These forms of creative expression include, but are not limited to:

• Painting

• Doodling

• Scribbling

• Sculpting

• Using molding clay

• Carving

• Pottery making

• Cardmaking

• Textile creation

• Collage creation

Through these, and other integrative methods, art therapy engages the body, mind, and spirit in ways that are profoundly different from the verbal articulation of talk therapy alone.


Through using sensory, perceptual, and symbolic forms, it offers alternative modes of receptive and expressive communication, allowing for expression that may not be as easily accessible from words or concepts alone. Visual and symbolic expression provides a voice for a depth of experience that empowers individual, communal, and societal transformation. Juicy fruit from the tree of Creation: Some of the beautiful benefits that have been shown through the practice of this particular therapeutic approach are:

• Improved cognitive and sensorimotor functions

• Stronger self-esteem and self-awareness

• Emotional resilience

• Profound personal insight

• Enhanced social skills

• Reduced conflicts and distress

• Overall increased promotion of health, wellness, and growth


All of these powerful benefits greatly increase one’s chances of continued long term success in recovery from substances, and foster a more fulfilled life in general. If you are suffering from the traumatic effects of addiction or alcoholism, and would like a treatment program which includes this form of freeing therapy, click here if your loved one is in need of a treatment program with a strong art therapy element, click here. For more information on how Oasis Recovery uses art therapy, as well as other healing techniques, from the first-hand experience of one of our skilled therapists click here. We are here to help turn destruction into creation, and despair into hope, one day at a time, one doodle at a time, one courageous expressive art piece at a time.

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