Using Creativity to Heal by Patrick Bailey


Writing songs and painting pictures are enjoyable ways to spend time. If we’re lucky enough, they can also be amazing ways to make a living.


Did you know that such artistic pursuits can also help heal us? For many who struggle with addiction and mental health issues, creativity, especially in the arts, is a great form of therapy and can be a pivotal tool for someone in recovery.


What is holistic treatment?


An increasing number of addiction rehab centers offer assistance known as holistic treatment. Instead of just treating people’s addictions, holistic drug rehabs treat a person’s mind and spirit as well as his or her body.


Instead of just treating the physical symptoms or the effects of addiction, holistic drug rehabs treat the causes of the disorder and provide natural ways to cope with feelings that can lead them to relapsing.. Addiction is a physical and mental disease that affects many areas of life. Holistic approaches address all of the components of addiction, not just its external symptoms.


What are some types of holistic treatment?


It may be easier to say what isn’t holistic treatment. There are many approaches, and some relate to artistic pursuits.


Music therapy


When participating in music therapy, people might listen to songs and other compositions. They might discuss music and lyrics with other people receiving assistance and with professional therapists. They might write and perform songs, or they might perform the music of others. In some holistic drug rehabs, counselors will have the patients think of a song and explain what it means to them. Healing through lyrics and meaning is a very positive coping tool. 


Researchers found that music therapy can reduce anxiety, depression, anger, sadness, and stress levels among people in addiction treatment.


Music may produce its therapeutic effects by producing biochemical reactions in the brain. Using drugs and alcohol can release dopamine, a chemical that makes us feel good.


People addicted to substances may become tolerant to the substances and use increasingly larger amounts of them. Exposure to music can also stimulate the release of dopamine but in a safer way.


Art therapy


Many rehabilitation facilities also use art therapy to assist their clients. Art therapy urges people to draw, paint, sculpt, or use other forms of visual expression, including dance. Holistic therapist encourage people to channel their inner artist and learn how to express their feelings through actions. 


Art therapy can be a useful way to discuss potentially painful subjects. One study examined adolescents who participated in art therapy. It found that “[t]he art that the adolescent produces can help the therapist gain some idea of the youth’s concerns and life circumstances, especially those situations that are too risky to reveal or too personally embarrassing to relate.”


If certain topics are too painful to talk about out loud, it may be easier for people to draw or paint pictures that express their feelings about the topics.


Creating art also appears to stimulate thinking. In another study, people reported that they felt like they could solve problems and generate good ideas after they participated in artistic activities. Art for art’s sake? How about art for therapy’s sake?




Making music and producing works of art help us feel good about ourselves. The activities help us release stress, express our feelings, and boost our self-esteem. We’re also creating something during the process.


Everyone is different, and so are their addictions. They may need other types of treatment, such as talk therapy or medication to curb withdrawals, in addition to holistic treatments such as music or art therapy.


But music and art therapy can be powerful tools to create art and promote healing.

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