Art therapy for drug addiction recovery

Art therapy for drug addiction recovery

How does art therapy treat drug addictions?


Art therapy has value as part of a holistic approach to drug addiction recovery. At Lanna Rehab, we care for every patient – and their rehabilitation with an individualised treatment plan. With that in mind, art therapy is one tool we use.

Our talented team of therapists care for each individual by providing a treatment plan specifically for them. In other words, treatment plans can combine an array of disciplines and approaches to treatment.

Art therapist Eve Choowong-In has regular sessions with our patients.

What is art therapy?

Art therapy can refer to a number of disciplines from ceramics to painting, to music. It was initially practiced as far back as the 1950s in America and today, it is increasingly more common-place.

“As an artist, I believe art can empower people. It can be used as a tool to help us communicate and to heal,” says therapist Eve Choowong-In.

Art therapy is nonverbal and gives people who are unable to talk through underlying reasons for their substance abuse, a way to communicate about them. Therapist Eve says “it can be a tool to help them work through trauma. That can certainly be a lifeline for someone who is stuck in a cycle of alcohol or drug abuse and just needs a way out.”

After graduating from the Columbia College Chicago, Eve studied art therapy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, before completing her Master’s degree at Southwestern College – Santa Fe.

“My academic training focused on transpersonal psychology and somatic psychology. I also had a focus on a multicultural approach to psychology, which is certainly of relevance here at Lanna Rehab because we treat patients from all over the world.”

“With my training, I help people through a range of trauma such as domestic violence and grief-loss. These can be the underlying reasons people use.”

Therapist Eve is part of our comprehensive clinical team at Lanna Rehab, and sees art therapy as a complement to broader care.

What happens in an art therapy session?

“In my sessions I combine a variety of art forms from ceramics, to painting.  More recently I have started providing Singing Bowl Sound Healing sessions (pictured),” says Eve explaining that the vibrations help with meditation and relaxation.

Noting that there are an array of potential benefits, Eve says “art therapy can reduce anxiety and really help to regulate emotions.”


Art therapy facilitate a healing space

“My treatments have included mindfulness, person-centered, integrative modalities, and art therapy to facilitate a healing space for each client.”


How does art fit into treatment planning at Lanna Rehab

Physical addiction to a substance is only part of treatment. By addressing the underlying reasons a person uses drugs we can help to treat the cognitive and behavioural symptoms. However, we acknowledge recovery is a challenge.  Most importantly, our team offer support, compassion and expertise. With the right team, we believe individuals have the best opportunity to recover.

“I find that every patient is different, and likewise their recovery journey is unique. Therefore, art therapy is one of the tools we use as part of a holistic approach to care,” says therapist Eve.

“Some sessions are one-on-one, while others are in groups. I structure all my sessions specific to my patient. Importantly, our entire clinical team meet regularly and check-in to make sure we are giving each patient the care they need. At Lanna Rehab you have this whole team of therapists to support you and to really cheer on your recovery.”


Anne Lazarakis joined the Lanna Rehab team in 2019, from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health as a global issue, often focusing on our own client experiences and linking these to broader social trends. Before joining our team, she worked for several health services with a focus on equality of care, including the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Royal Hospital for Women Foundation. Mental health - particularly addiction - is often stigmatised. Stigmas associated with these areas prevent people from seeking help and recovering. Barriers can be gender, religion, or culturally-based. In some parts of the world mental health is not even recognised as a health condition. By sharing people's stories, and making information more readily available, Anne advocates for accessibility of care for all.


Fully licensed by