At the New Season Hagerstown Treatment Center, the “Art in Recovery Group” is a hybrid of open discussion and activity that encourages patients to explore their creativity in an open atmosphere, inspiring patients to apply this approach to their daily lives as a means of relating to the non-addicted world.

As the counselor that leads this group, I see the strong link between art therapy and healing.  More is being discovered about the amazing benefits of and positive health effects of visual arts therapy, music engagement, movement-based creative expression and expressive writing.  I highly encourage more treatment facilities, counselors and other treatment professionals to consider offering these types of programs at their own centers.  To read more about the connection between art and healing, CLICK HERE.

At Hagerstown, we have started adding the wonderful creative artworks produced by the group in our lobbies for all to enjoy.  Recently, the group produced the following masterpiece (shown below).  The piece created by the group did not begin with any particular slate of ideas or intention. The imagery of the finished piece is a montage of treatment related metaphors backdropped by an image of a rising sun, symbolizing a new day. The overall effect of these elements combined presents a brightly colored and positive representation of recovery.

A complete description of the meaning of the art symbols and process can be found below the image.

The group logo and the super hero’s face are original works intended to be both humorous and sincere. The Medical Director’s physical likeness has been placed on Superman’s body expressing the patient’s affinity for their doctor and appreciation for him helping them. The Kool-Aid Man is present, bursting through the paper to convey how the medication helps individuals with the removal of recovery barriers.

The lotus blossom is symbolic of the mind, body, and soul rooted in the mud; while the dragonfly symbolizes change and self realization. The source of this change is the patient’s growing mental and emotional maturity that leads to the understanding of the deeper meaning of life. The dragonfly can be seen to be leaving the lotus in the painting, having achieved these things, and moving onward.

I look forward to facilitating this group every week, the patient’s recovery and personal growth are what makes this group so very special to me.

Author: Lee Kempton, Counselor