Addiction is 100% trauma-based. Substance use disorder is traumatic to the body and mind, and the emotional impacts are lasting. Various forms of therapy are essential to the recovery process and are provided in our inpatient dual diagnosis treatment program. Addressing deeply seated traumas, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and grief, allows for emotional healing to begin. People in early recovery can start to move forward to process their trauma, their addiction, and the aftermath. When the substance-induced fog begins to lift, thoughts and emotions that were shut down by drug and alcohol use will begin to rapidly rise to the surface. Shame, guilt, anger, fear, hope, and may other emotions and feelings will appear and can be overwhelming. Our experiential therapy program helps each client to move from fight or flight mode to a place where they can begin processing and healing.
Dealing with emotions isn’t something that a person in active addiction often has to do. Addiction quiets racing thoughts, quells fears, numbs pain and grief, and becomes the coping mechanism of choice as a result. When use stops, the impact of experiences and events that one was coping with through substance use, or things that happened while one was active in their addiction, are once again felt.
Our progressive team recognizes and embraces the benefit of evidence-based and experiential therapeutic modalities, such as Psychodrama, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Equine Therapy, Art, Music, and Play Therapy. Experiential therapy is a therapeutic technique that uses expressive tools and activities, such as role-playing or acting, props, arts and crafts, music, animal care, guided imagery, or various forms of recreation to re-enact and re-experience emotional situations from past and recent relationships.
This can sound scary, but the brain has an amazing ability to adapt and heal. It takes time and healthy habits; without being inundated with substances, the brain can start to rewire itself, bypassing broken connections by using alternative pathways. Defining Wellness Centers pairs our Wellness Lab, focusing on technology that aids in emotional regulation, with experiential therapy modalities for the best possible client outcomes.
The benefits of experiential therapy are plentiful, and through working with an experienced and licensed therapist, one can safely explore the traumas they carry with them. When addressing significant underlying issues, an opportunity for healing arises. Trauma is a wound to the soul. It needs to be tended to like any other wound on the body – you experience the ache that comes from treating it so that it can heal in a healthy way. If you have a broken bone and don’t get it set and cast, it’s not going to heal properly and may leave you with limited functionality. The same is true for your emotions. Every client is worthy of love and wellness – we help you to figure out how to give yourself the permission you need to emotionally heal.
Developed in the 1970s, experiential therapy helps clients to heal through actually experiencing. Successfully used in treatment for dual diagnosis, addiction, eating disorders, and psychological issues, experiential therapy aids clients in accessing and identifying emotions. Clients can also recreate past scenarios or work in groups with other clients or clinicians to trigger negative emotions that lead to unhealthy or compulsive behaviors. Through these mediums, those emotions and feelings can be processed in a safe environment.
Clients are able to learn how to cope with stressors that arise for them, identify roadblocks and problem-solve solutions. Additionally, they develop their self-esteem, experience successes and failures, and become responsible for themselves and their actions. All of these areas of growth can lead to a more actualized perception of self, the ability to identify unhealthy and healthy patterns, and personal empowerment. Experiential therapy outcomes also include an improved ability to manage stress, living in the present moment, and healthier communication skills.
We put a heavy emphasis on experiential therapeutic modalities. Our team has both seen and experienced first-hand the impact that these interventions can have. We’re here to answer any questions you have about experiential therapy and how it can help you or your loved one. Call us today for more information at (855) 466-4146.
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