Expressing yourself can be difficult.

Especially when you might not even be sure how you feel yourself, let alone how to express complex emotions to someone that can help you.

Therapy is a key part of your treatment when you are living with an addiction and you want to start working towards long term recovery. But there are many different kinds of therapy, and expecting all types to help every single person is unrealistic.

One type of therapy that is often overlooked by people who have not yet experienced its effects is creative therapy which is offered at our drug and alcohol rehab centre.

What Is Creative Therapy?

Creative therapy is a type of therapy designed to help you express the complex thoughts and emotions going around your head through a relaxing and stress-free creative expression. This form of nonverbal expression can be very helpful for those struggling with serious mental health issues, mental illnesses or disabilities that would prevent them from speaking otherwise.

Creative therapy can help you to navigate your own mind and unlock things you have kept hidden from yourself.

There are a few different standard types of creative therapy available to you, and they include:

  • Art therapy
  • Dance therapy
  • Acting therapy
  • Music therapy

This is not about how artistic you are or how well you are able to do any of the forms of therapy. But instead, it is to help you unlock different parts of your brain and allow you to express yourself without the hindrance of words.

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What Is Art Therapy?

Art therapy is the most wildly known form of creative therapy. It involves either painting, drawing, modelling, or sculpting different things.

Sometimes you will be asked to create what you feel is a representation of yourself so that the therapist can review your own self-image and make any needed adjustments.

However, a lot of the time, it is about the mindfulness of the activity, allowing you to relax and not focus too much on getting the right answers to the therapist’s questions.

Creative therapy can be a lot less daunting than traditional therapy, as when your brain is focused on creating art, it can relax and allow you to be more open and honest about your thoughts, feelings and experiences.

What Is Dance Therapy?

Dance therapy is all about movement and confidence building.

Exercise and movement produce dopamine in your brain, something which plays a key role in the development of addiction.

An addiction is formed when your brain receives a rush of dopamine from your substance abuse, be it alcohol or drugs. Over time your brain becomes dependent on this extra dopamine leading to bouts of depression when you are attempting to work towards long term recovery.

Dance therapy can help you counter these depressing effects through the dopamine-producing movement.

It also gives you something fun and energetic to focus on and can act as a physical focus away from your cravings.

What Is Acting Therapy?

Acting therapy is probably most well known as roleplaying.

There are a few ways this can be done. For example, you could be asked to roleplay as your younger self to help you express what you went through, especially if you were exposed to substance abuse from a young age or went through childhood trauma.

You may also be asked to roleplay loved ones to help you see yourself from an outside perspective so that the therapist can learn how you see yourself.

Acting therapy could also have you been given a seemingly random role that the therapist wants to see how you interpret in order to gain a greater understanding of your thought processes and your emotions.

What Is Music Therapy?

Music therapy works similarly to art therapy as they both allow you to focus on something mindful in order to relax and be able to better express yourself.

But music therapy may also involve your therapist seeing how you react to different types of music, your emotional responses and why you have them.

They may also try to get you to analyse music and lyrics and attach your own feelings to them. Or to connect different pieces of music to your emotions for easier expression.

If you already play an instrument, you may be asked to perform or even be encouraged to start learning how to play a new instrument as a form of self-expression and daily activity to keep your mind focused away from drugs and alcohol.

How Creative Therapy Helps You

Creative therapy is a freeing practice that allows you to be your true authentic self without the distractions of worrying about articulation or how to correctly express yourself.

It can help you challenge perfectionism through the desire to just play around and be creative.

As adults in today’s world, there are so few opportunities to just play and be silly anymore. Creative therapy encourages these natural and healthy parts of yourself to come out and helps you see that you don’t have to live just one way.

The journey to long term recovery is a difficult one. It requires a lot of work and dedication that can seem like a crushing weight that you have to prepare yourself for. But art therapy can be seen as a fun break that still helps you towards your goal but without the same amount of pressure.

You are not your worse days, and you are not your worse qualities. You are every experience, thought, and emotion mixed together, and creative therapy allows you to bring all of your qualities to the surface for a therapist to help you see.

Through art therapy, you can learn how to manage your mental health and through regular upkeep of your addiction too.

It is important to see any kind of therapy as a way to manage yourself, not as a cure. Addiction and mental illness are chronic conditions that require regular upkeep in order for you to avoid a relapse.

But creative therapy techniques that help you centre yourself, avoid triggers and maintain good mental health are a nice thing to incorporate into your life and work towards long term recovery.

This is the first step in the right direction, and with a little bit of work and dedication, you will be able to achieve a sober life and a positive mental health.

We know you can do this. You just need a little help to get on your way, and we can help with that at Ocean Recovery.

For more information on our therapies and drug or alcohol addiction treatments, you can call us at 01253 847 553 or email us at We have dedicated team members standing by, ready to help.

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: June 8, 2022

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.