Art therapy helps people express emotions and experiences in creative ways. Art therapy can be useful for people who have trouble connecting with or verbalizing difficult feelings or talking about certain situations in traditional therapy. People need no previous art training to benefit from art therapy programs.\r\nWhat Is Art Therapy?\r\nDuring art therapy, clients use a variety of media to express themselves such as colors, symbols, photos, clay, and paint. Expressive art therapy is an outlet of self-expression that can help clients resolve inner conflicts and explore past experiences in a way that might have remained hidden from more clinical types of therapy.\r\n\r\nWorking with their hands to create drawings, paintings, sculptures, collages and other forms of expression, participants convey emotions they may not feel comfortable talking about directly with their therapist or with peers in group therapy sessions. What comes out through their creative efforts may be illuminating to the client.\r\n\r\nArt therapy tends to focus on topics that are relevant to the client community at the time or topics that are so universal that they\u2019re relevant to anyone recovering from addiction or other mental health issues. For example, expressive art therapy projects may consist of vision boards, a Higher Power box, or an artistic representation of the figurative \u201cmasks\u201d that people might wear.\r\nBenefits of an Art Therapy Program for Addiction Recovery\r\nArt therapy programs provide people with an outlet to express painful feelings and discover what their thoughts and feelings may mean and how they\u2019ve affected them. Together with our therapists, clients learn how to express feelings and emotions without resorting to alcohol or drug use or other self-destructive behaviors. Clients who participate in this experiential therapy report that they are more aware of themselves. They also report feelings of contentment, relaxation and a state of calmness.\r\n\r\nArt therapists are trained to recognize common non-verbal metaphors and symbols that frequently surface in expressive art therapy. They then collaborate with other treatment team members to address issues identifies around conflict, pain, shame, repressed anger, guilt, and past trauma.\r\n\r\nCreating, drawing, sculpting, and other forms of artistic expression can help improve communication and increase self-esteem. An art therapy program for addiction recovery and other forms of recovery can serve as a healthy coping mechanism and a way to better understand emotions as well as encourage nonverbal communication through artistic expression.