BRC Recovery is dedicated to providing our residents with clinical enhancements that support the promises of their recovery journey.
This month we are excited to feature Art Therapy, led by BRC Clinical Center employee, Kelsey McCoy, LCDC Candidate. Kelsey brings her training and talents to the BRC Women’s Program through the form of Art Therapy. Art Therapy can be a powerful therapeutic tool. Kelsey shares her approach below:
Art therapy is a unique way in which individuals are asked to utilize color, texture and other methods as a form of self-expression. Sometimes feelings and emotions are difficult to put into words and with the use of many different mediums these sometimes non-tangible ideas in our mind can become tangible. Many people enjoy the creative process, and with art therapy it is about self-expression rather than skill or technique. Sometimes the simple act of putting color onto paper and evoke emotions and feelings that have been buried deep within. For me, art has always been an important piece of my life. It has been my passion, my joy, my meditation and sometimes my escape. It allows me to quiet my mind, focusing solely on the piece of paper in front of me. Most often, the residents who are willing to let go of self-judgement and old ideas about their artistic ability are pleasantly surprised with just how creative they really are.
The art therapy group project that I used with the female residents was used as a metaphor for the recovery process. My friend and a former BRC employee, Kristi Burtch, used to call this group “A Colorful Transformation”. The residents were instructed to think of a memory where they were most happy and fulfilled. They used oil pastels and crayons to create an image that symbolized this memory to them. The only instruction given was that they need to use a heavy hand and saturate their piece of paper with color. The women were given the opportunity to share about the image that they had created and why this was such a joyous memory for them. The community was then instructed to paint over their image with black paint. This part of the exercise is symbolic of how alcoholism and drug addiction blot out absolutely everything worthwhile in life. Many times, this simple act can create a lot of emotion and the community was encouraged to share what emotions were brought up. After the layer of paint dried, the residents were provided with scratching tools and were asked to create an image of hope for their future. This process is also a metaphor for the process of healing that they are currently engaged in. Although the past cannot be changed, we can begin to make our story of recovery into something beautiful. Their lives, just like their piece of artwork, will be forever altered by their addiction, however if they continue to grow and flourish in recovery, they can begin to make use of their past to help others.