Art therapy is a complementary type of therapy used in combination with other techniques to offer an effective solution to the problems that someone with addiction issues might be facing. Art therapists use the individual’s creativity as well as his personal imagination to engage him in art making. The aim is to relax their consciousness and relieve the pressure through different activities such as painting, sculpting, and drawing. Furthermore, even though there are other forms of expressive therapies like music therapy and dance therapy, but what makes art therapy truly an alternative and distinctive treatment is the fact that it uses more traditional forms of art as well as modern photography and sculpture in helping individuals express their emotions.

There is research that proves the efficiency of art therapy, and the use of it in different techniques, like the Gestalt methods, Active imagination, and Third-hand approach. The Gestalt method consists of a specialist working hand in hand with the client and using the artwork as an introduction into a more profound conversation, more generally as a tool to open them up to the vulnerable sides of themselves they tend to push down, because they have to describe the meaning of the specific artwork they created, in a way allowing them to become more comfortable with their inner struggles and release them more efficiently. Active imagination uses the psychological concept of spreading activation. Indeed, by starting with the certain creation, it activates patterns of associations to the concept represented by the artwork in the client’s brain and allowing to open gateways for deep introspection. The Third-hand technique emphasizes on help from the therapist to create the piece of art itself, thus calling it ”Third-hand”, because it is as if the therapist was the third hand involved in the creation, and this allows building a trustful relationship between the subject and the specialist.

Our art therapists in Montreal and West Island offer individual and group art therapy for individuals with addiction issues. Contact us or visit our website at for more information!

By: Nariman Namdari