Addiction Treatment Centers Using Experiential Therapies

Addiction Treatment Centers Using Experiential Therapies

Life is​ experience. Substance dependence overtakes a​ person’s ability to​ make her own decisions to​ experience life, and​ life is​ no longer actively participated in. Therefore, in​ overcoming addiction, it​ is​ vital to​ learn to​ re-experience life. This lesson helps a​ treatment center resident reintegrate into the​ world after therapy is​ through. Experiential therapy is​ this bridge to​ leaving a​ life of​ substance dependency and​ commencing a​ life of​ health, both physical and​ mental. Experiential therapy is​ a​ necessary component in​ the​ steps towards a​ complete therapy. in​ addition to​ counseling and​ more traditional therapies, experiential is​ the​ door to​ the​ world – it​ forces the​ patient to​ test herself, to​ get up when she falls, to​ learn that giving up is​ not an​ option. This is​ a​ vital lesson to​ learn when overcoming addiction, as​ when problems arise after therapy, the​ former patient will remember that there are other means of​ dealing with problems than turning back to​ addiction.

Experiential therapy includes many various forms, and​ can be divided into two main categories: outdoor experiential therapy and​ indoor experiential therapy. Both aim at​ physical and​ mental challenges in​ order to​ succeed. Equine therapy, which falls within the​ category of​ outdoor experiential therapy, is​ worth reviewing on its own due to​ its uniqueness and​ successful results. Research supports the​ use of​ experiential therapy, as​ motivation increases and​ social integration is​ easier through the​ experience of​ such therapy.

The great outdoors is​ well known for​ its healing abilities, and​ exercise in​ itself releases the​ same good-feeling endorphins as​ a​ high does. There we have it: the​ high that is​ healthy. Outdoor experiential therapy utilizes nature to​ help residents work through their problems and​ free themselves from dependency through the​ physical challenges offered in​ nature. Activities can include winter sports like snowshoeing, and​ summer sports like hiking. More radical activities, like a​ heli-experience, are also possible. the​ heli-experience takes people to​ literally previously unknown heights. in​ opening new worlds, these experiences reconnect residences to​ their world, which is​ so important to​ eventually helping them reconnect with the​ people who live in​ this world. While outdoor activities are beneficial for​ the​ social aspect of​ interacting with other residents, their main achievement is​ to​ make the​ resident introspect and​ put a​ perspective on the​ resident’s own life in​ the​ context of​ the​ towering natural world.

Indoor experiential therapy can be based on an​ indoor ropes and​ challenge course. While also containing the​ aspect of​ physical challenge, indoor experiential therapy is​ a​ greater internal challenge. the​ resident must mentally prepare herself for​ the​ challenges that come at​ such heights. Also, trust is​ an​ invaluable lesson learned in​ indoor therapy. Partners rely on each other to​ succeed in​ these activities, thus learning to​ communicate effectively and​ learning to​ trust another. This can be an​ especially difficult aspect of​ healing from addiction, as​ for​ so many, trust is​ not a​ part of​ a​ life of​ addiction. Learning to​ rebuild personal self-confidence and​ trust in​ others is​ vital for​ a​ successful recovery from substance dependence. Reintegrating into society after therapy is​ one of​ the​ most difficult aspects of​ recovery, so having a​ treatment program that rebuilds the​ elements of​ trust and​ confidence, needed for​ a​ successful life in​ our society, is​ especially beneficial.

Equine therapy, a​ certain highlight of​ the​ outdoor experiential therapy, combines aspects used both in​ outdoor and​ indoor therapy. From the​ aspect of​ the​ outdoors, equine therapy offers the​ chance to​ be with, in​ and​ beyond nature, with a​ living being that sees us only for​ who we are. Horses are extremely intelligent creatures, having a​ special history with the​ human race. So vital in​ the​ development of​ the​ modern world, horses were the​ first vehicles for​ transporting messengers and​ mail efficiently, as​ the​ Pony Express reminds us, and​ were man’s trusted guides in​ exploration and​ on battlefields. And, while a​ horse does not judge mankind, it​ certainly can read a​ character and​ will cleverly use a​ human’s personality to​ its advantage. Trust is​ an​ essential element of​ equine therapy, and​ it​ is​ a​ relationship with a​ creature that will not lie about its feelings. When a​ genuine friendship is​ formed between horse and​ man, it​ is​ a​ lifelong bond. Equine therapy combines the​ power of​ nature and​ a​ physical challenge with the​ need to​ build a​ trusting relationship with a​ fellow living creature and​ increase self-confidence. in​ this manner, equine therapy is​ especially helpful for​ residents of​ treatment centers, as​ it​ combines all elements so beneficial to​ recovery in​ one activity.

Experiential therapy teaches lessons of​ confidence in​ the​ self as​ well as​ in​ others, and​ teaches facing challenges and​ overcoming them. Motivation is​ of​ prime importance in​ overcoming an​ addiction, and​ what better place to​ find motivation than where we naturally seek it: in​ situations that encourage us to​ aim higher than we imagine is​ possible. Through the​ motivation that appears in​ the​ physical activities, treatment center residents learn to​ carry it​ over to​ their own lives, and​ find the​ necessary motivation to​ deal with personal issues. Simultaneously building confidence and​ trust in​ themselves and​ others only strengthens the​ desire for​ motivation. the​ added health benefits of​ partaking in​ physical exercise show themselves both on the​ bodies and​ minds of​ patients. Getting the​ body into shape helps stabilize the​ mind, and​ helps lead a​ generally healthier life. There is​ never an​ easy cure to​ addiction, and​ many paths and​ steps must be followed to​ guide to​ a​ better life. the​ step of​ experiential therapy is​ one of​ the​ most rewarding steps in​ treatment, as​ the​ treatment resident is​ aware first-hand of​ its results. This personal feeling of​ achievement in​ overcoming challenges makes great headway in​ the​ recovery process from addiction.

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