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Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Recovery Book

The Recovery Book
An Art Therapy Directive

(This directive was originally created by Libby Schmanke, MS, LCAC, ATR-BC, http://www.artandinsight.com/ in her work with elderly. An amazing art therapist, Libby designed the directive so that each of the seasons reflected a different part of life.
It's a wonderful directive that is also very versitile!)

In a simple, straight-forward way, this directive has the client go through the steps for recovery by using the symbolism of the four seasons.

Description:  Using the four seasons the client creates a short, 8-page book that outlines where she is in the recovery process and what she has to expect as she recovers. It can also be designed as a reflection book on the process that the client has been through to get to recovery from an addiction. This book can be as simple or complex as you and the client would like to make it (depending on the needs of the client).

Materials:  Colored construction paper, cut-outs of white paper circles that have images that represent the 4 seasons (having several options available to the client to choose often has the effect of increasing the client’s sense of control), markers or colored pencils, glue, and ribbon (again, providing options helps the client feel more creative/free).


First – Get the materials ready by cutting out four pieces of the construction paper and hole-punch the upper left-hand corner of each (to put the ribbon through, connecting the book). Also print out and then cut in to circles images that represent the four seasons.

Second – Have your client choose what images she would like to use for all four seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter). Discuss during this time how each season can symbolize the four stages of recovery (Spring = “Sprouting” or “New Beginnings”, Summer = “Blossoming/Growing”,Fall = Harvesting, and Winter = “Celebrating”. Note = you may want to type out each of these words so the client can place them on the corresponding card as a reminder of what each season represents in recovery).

Third – Once the client has chosen the images and words representing each season, have the client color her images, choosing colors that represent for her the experience of both the season and the time of recovery.

Fourth – When the client is done coloring, have the client glue the image on to one side of the page, and a blank piece of paper on the flip side of the paper.

Fifth – Have the client write down what that season meant to her in her recovery in the blank piece of paper, once the glue has dried.

Sixth – Now, the client can choose a color of ribbon to tie the book together. Encourage the client to share what she has created.

Follow-up Questions:

1) Tell me about your Recovery Book. What did you put in it?

2) What season do you feel like you are in with your recovery?

3) Even though you may not have reached the season you want to be in with your recovery, can you imagine what it will be like when you get there?

4) What do you feel it will take to recover?

5) How was this experience for you?

Alternative Procedure:  You can also have client (or the client may request to) create a Recovery Book by using blank circles where she can draw images in herself. This allows more freedom and less structure. It may be important to begin with structure and then later work towards more freedom. Each client will be different at different times, so it will be important to gage the needs of the client at the time of doing the directive.

Outcome: This exercise is designed to have your client get more in touch with 1) How far she has come, 2) What she has to look forward to in her recovery, and 3) Puts a positive spin on her recovery. It can also help to facilitate a great deal of discussion regarding recovery goals, struggles, realistic expectations, and what it will take to be successful in reaching the goals.

Web-Sites/Reference Material:

The Addiction Recovery Guide - http://www.addictionrecoveryguide.org/

Art Therapy as a Treatment for Drug Addiction - http://www.ehow.com/way_5451808_art-therapy-treatment-drug-addiction.html
Art Therapy for Recovery from Drug Addiction - http://www.drugalcoholaddictionrecovery.com/?p=53

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