While not stand-alone treatments for addiction, art and music therapy can be helpful in supporting the recovery process. Both serve to reduce stress, increase relaxation, and create outlets for thoughts and feelings that cannot be verbally expressed.

Music Therapy

Music therapy is defined by the American Music Therapy Association as:  “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship, by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.” No musical talent is needed in order to participate in music therapy. It can be done individually or in groups and can be used in a variety of ways, including:

  • Reducing stress by playing an instrument/ improvisation
  • Providing a non-verbal format for a music therapist and client to communicate
  • Writing lyrics and songs and using them as springboards for discussion
  • Recording music for personal relaxation
  • Tapping into creativity and increasing positive emotions
  • Using existing talents or cultivating new ones to explore issues of self-confidence and self-control
Art Therapy

Art therapy is similar to music therapy in that it can be useful for people who are new to the arts as well as those who are more accomplished artists and musicians. The participant’s experience or skill level and the finished outcomes are unimportant; it is the ability to explore and express oneself within a new medium that is beneficial. Both art and music therapy aim to ensure that the client is comfortable with the techniques that are used. Art therapy, as defined by the American Art Therapy Association, is “a mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem.” Art therapy is facilitated by a trained therapist with a master’s degree in the field.


Individuals who would benefit from guided creative activity to reduce stress and address emotional issues related to their alcohol dependence.

Share Your Story

Has art or music therapy helped you? Share your story.