Art is a very broad category that can include music, poetry, and drama. What does it have to do with addiction treatment? Art in its various forms can “wake up” parts of the client’s memories and skills, and as one explores these nonverbal pathways it is often possible to gain a perspective that might have been overlooked in a traditional “talk” therapy session. Once these patterns and symbols are noticed, it is then much easier to talk about them, and new understandings can be reached. “I was surprised to see how close to my mother I was standing in my painting.” “I had no idea how much fun it would be to make tiny animals from clay.” “Once I started singing about what happened, I soon started laughing, and I’ve felt so much better ever since.” It may seem like magic, but this wisdom is already in our bodies, and music and art are two of the ways we can connect with it and use it for moving toward healing.
Art and music are therapies that work together with the other modalities in our program to enhance the other flavors of the experience. Sometimes music forms a gentle background in the living room. Other times, we might take the clients out to hear some local performers. Many people say that music has been an important part of their recovery. It connects with the emotions; and of course there are so many different kinds of music that something can be found to connect with each mood and begin to lighten it. From early childhood on, people respond to music, and in a therapeutic setting it is useful to soothe and support the healing process–and sometimes it helps us to liven things up.
Art is in some ways similar in its ability to facilitate emotional release and healing. It can also be a delightful social activity, as people gathered around tables have a good time seeing their own creative project emerge next to the others. Will you be most attracted to the painting, sculpting, drawing, or other forms of art? There is chatting and laughter as budding artists surprise themselves. Working with materials can help to establish new life patterns and inspire new possibilities.
In our integrated program art and music can be the doorway for clients to gain a new understanding of themselves. You don’t need a background in art in order to explore various materials and experience your creative side, express emotion, and risk a little.
What is Art at The Experience?
It’s a chance to be a kid again and explore materials for the fun of it. We are interested in what each person comes up with, and we are NOT art judges. Perhaps you will make something from clay with the same delight that you had as a child playing with mud. Or maybe you will find a way to release some old frustrations in a colorful painting.
Art may be something you have always enjoyed, and for you this will be a chance to relax and play. On the other hand, you may have no experience at all, or even some experiences that you didn’t like. You will have a chance to discover what art can be for you at this point in your life. If you find areas of discomfort, we are here to help you explore and learn from them. The more you venture into the “unknown” with our loving support, the more your comfort level will increase in other areas of your life.
Music Therapies at The Experience
Music therapy can take many forms, depending on what is appropriate for each individual. It can involve choosing music that “speaks” to you, or listening to another person’s choice, or perhaps even creating your own. It is a form of communication, and for some it is a nice supplement to conversation. For those who have always wanted to try karaoke, this could be the time and place to see what it’s like. If you enjoy music, it may be an important part of your path of healing. Music can reach a person in an emotional way, and it is one more way to access self-awareness while soothing or energizing. The more we get to know ourselves deeply, the better we can choose music that serves us by weaving joy into our day.
Music and art are both ways of supporting your total healing experience. They will stimulate new thoughts, new emotions, and for some, they will be an important part of the new life you are launching. Healing your life is a process of examining what works, what to discard, what to keep, and what to bring in. We are here to offer many different potential paths, as each client is a unique person who will benefit from specifically-tailored opportunities.