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Art Therapy In Group Setting Essay

2175 words - 9 pages

A picture is worth a thousand words, art can have the same effect. Art can often give meaning to the words we choose. Art can also give a voice to the words we can find to describe what we feel or think. As a drug and alcohol counselor, our clients will often at times not be able to put words to what they are feeling or thinking. Sometime clients may also need to be able to just stop to experience what they are feeling rather than over thinking and explaining their life. Art therapy techniques can elevate such obstacles in chemical dependency treatment for clients.
Art therapy has many benefits for clients and counselors. Art can be an alternative path for communications. When a ...view middle of the document...

While participating in art projects or therapy, often times clients can be reminded of their inner child and when times were simpler or maybe a time when it was safe for them (Bryant, 2011). Through this, art can promote a healthy expression of emotions, bring forth a spiritual recovery, understand of attitudes, decreasing distorted thinking, offers insight, and create a healthy creativity away from alcohol and drugs (Holt and Kaiser, 2009).
Furthermore, art therapy techniques can be beneficial to clients as well as the counselors in group process and individually. Art is beneficial in producing active involvement of clients in their own therapeutic process as well as active participation within a group. The expressiveness of art produces an interactive therapy between the client, the counselor, and other group members. In regards to groups, art therapy is a way to create group cohesion. A sense of connectedness is experienced by individuals in the group either through the sharing of their artwork or through joint artwork activities (Shechtman and Perl-dekel, 2000). At the very least, art may lead to a belief in the possibility of cohesion and safety within the group (DeTrude, 2012). Due to their distrust and lack of healthy social skills, substance abuse clients may be reluctant to group therapy processing. In art therapy, group members use a pool of common materials that they have to share; they have to find their place in the group project and cooperate with others (Shechtman and Perl-dekel, 2000).
Acting out or the inability communicate with one another is an obstacle that a counselor may have to deal with their substance abusing clients. Art may become a helpful tool for mediating group members’ behavior about the process itself and about other group members (Bryant, 2011). Using art aids in making sure that group members also do not overstep one another during processing by allowing everyone an equal chance to participate. For those clients that are silent, projects allow them the opportunity to speak or the ability to have a voice. Projects can also help the silent client overcome fear, anxiety, and shyness when it comes to sharing or even being in a group. Offering healthy method to communicate, allows clients to develop healthy and meaningful social skills in group that they can later apply to their other relationships. Learning healthy social skills can also aid clients in experiencing less anxiety and less fear in regards to existing relationship or future relationships.
Additionally, art therapy aids in moving forward in the group process. During group process, introducing a new topic may be difficult at times. This difficultly can be anything from trying to transition to the new topic, resistance to the new topic, or unwillingness to leave the previous topic due to anxiety to a new topic. Substance abuse clients are not comfortable with change; therefore, counselor may often see the resistance to change...

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