Month/Year of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)



First Advisor

Sarah Nelson


Substance use has been a huge problem in the United States for a long time. Typically, techniques such as behavioral therapies or 12-Step Programs are used regarding treatment for those trying to recover from substance use disorders. While these treatment options are useful for many people, it is also important to look at nonnormative options for treatment to help the greatest number of people. One of these treatment options is the use of art, either as art therapy or as therapeutic art-making. Previous research on art therapy and people with substance use disorders demonstrates that there are many benefits of art therapy, including increased reflection, improved management and expression of emotions, and enhanced social support. The current study looked at a particular rehabilitation center in Omaha, Nebraska and focused on interviewing program members within the facility about how their weekly Art Group, in which they engaged in therapeutic art-making, had impacted their treatment and recovery. The results were very similar to those shown from previous studies. In addition, it was discovered that their art offered them respite from their treatment activities and provided increased connection to their loved ones outside the facility. Additional research is needed on the impacts of therapeutic art-making on the treatment of substance use disorders. Furthermore, longitudinal studies should be conducted to examine the progress throughout treatment and any potential long-term effects.

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