At Enlightened Solutions clients will work on projects such as painting, drawing, creating collages, and various other creative arts. Our qualified Art Therapist will then run a process group to talk about what feelings and emotions came up during their art work. Clients will leave with work that they will keep as a reminder of their time with us here at Enlightened Solutions. Jennifer Hansen still has a collage she made in rehab which is now hanging in the Enlightened Solutions office. Her first hand experience with the effectiveness of Art Therapy is what inspired us to provide this for our clients.
Not everyone who is in a drug or alcohol treatment program finds it easy to express their emotions or tell the story of what they have been through in words, even to a counselor or therapist with whom they have developed a trusting relationship. To be able to sit down to say, “Today, I feel …,” may not adequately express what is going on inside of them.
If that same person is given an artistic medium to work with, they can channel their creativity into creating something that represents how they feel. There are no rules about what the project or the piece “should” look like; the work is entirely their own.
The role of the art therapist is not to critique the art work. Instead, the therapist discusses what the client has experienced through creating his or her art. The therapist observes the client’s facial expressions and manner while working on his or her art during the session to see whether the client appears stressed, angry, challenged, sad, frustrated, etc. These impressions are discussed after the art is completed.
The art therapist also asks the client what the image or piece of art means to the client, which gives them the chance to work through his or her feelings that were brought up through going through the process of creating the art.
Over time, clients learn how to deal with their difficult emotions and their self-esteem can increase. These two factors are an important part of healing and relapse prevention.