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Using Music and Art Therapy During Rehab

March 9, 2017 - - 0 Comments

Music and Art Therapy There are many studies that support the effectiveness of music and art therapy in managing drug addiction especially if the same is carried out to complement traditional treatment methods. This is the reason why many drug and alcohol rehab centers are including these kinds of therapeutic techniques in their addiction treatment programs.

Art and Music Therapy Overview

Contrary to popular belief, art therapy has been in existence and utilized as a treatment method since the 1950s. However, it was only during the rise of alternative treatment models that it became widely accepted and prevalently used in addiction treatment. The primary rationale behind this kind of creative therapy is the belief that it is much easier for patients to express themselves using an imaginative, non-verbal, and creative outlet.  

Art therapy includes different kinds of activities such as the following:

  • Incident drawing
  • Stress painting
  • Coloring
  • Sculpting
  • Creating an art journal

Music therapy, on the other hand, has been used by certain drug and alcohol rehab facilities since the 1970s. Similar to art therapy, music therapy is believed to help patients suffering from substance abuse disorder to express their innermost desires and feelings that are otherwise difficult to articulate verbally.

Music therapy includes the following activities:

  • Relaxation training
  • Lyric analysis
  • Songwriting
  • Musical games
  • Improvising music based on what the person is feeling
  • Composing music

Benefits of Music and Art Therapy

Many drug and alcohol rehab centers utilize music and art therapy to complement their existing treatment methods considering that many studies have proven the many benefits they provide. Many types of research show that music and art therapy provide the following advantages in the recovery process:

Music Therapy

  • Drug dependents show positive emotional changes after participating in songwriting and lyric analyses.
  • Playing the drums help patients to relax and to assist those who have gone through relapse.
  • Various musical activities are positively correlated with reduced stress, anger, anxiety, and even depression.
  • Participating in musical activities is positively related to a willingness to be involved in addiction treatment.

Art Therapy

  • Participating in art activities and creating art in general help patients to increase their self-awareness and decrease denial.
  • Being involved in art therapy also encourages patients to continue and be active in the drug rehabilitation process.
  • Participating in various art activities provide an effective avenue for communication and significantly lessen feelings of shame.
  • Observing, discussing, and interpreting artworks help facilitate discussions and can push patients to change for the better as they translate their reflection into positive action.

Patients that Will Benefit Most from Music and Art Therapy

While all patients suffering from substance abuse disorder can benefit from music and art therapy in general, many studies reveal that these therapeutic modes have been found to be most useful when working with the following patients:

  • Adolescents and teenagers
  • Women who are suffering from a co-occurring disorder such as addiction and PTSD, addiction and depression, etc.
  • Women with unique needs that are not addressed using conventional treatment approaches

Given the discussion above, it is clear that music and art therapy can greatly help patients who are going through rehab. If you have a loved one suffering from substance abuse disorder who is interested in participating in these types of treatment approaches but he or she is hesitant because of his or her “lack” of musical and artistic abilities, reassure him or her that “talent” is not a requirement. Specialists from addiction treatment centers that offer music and art therapy will tell you that anybody can benefit from creative therapies even without having prior experience in doing any of the artistic or musical activities involved.

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