Experiential Therapy Treatment

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Experiential therapy

Active addiction and mental illness can really take the fun out of life. An important part of the healing process is remembering how to laugh, play and live a balanced life.

In addition to physical needs, humans also have emotional and spiritual needs that are equally important. Just as people become ill without food and water, they become ill without time to think, create, pray, laugh and express themselves freely. Resuming self-expression is essential to mental health, so at Sovereign Health, our experiential therapy programs facilitate the process.

What is experiential therapy?

Experiential therapy is a form of psychotherapy. According to the American Society of Experiential Therapists, it “serves to elicit material from the unconscious that allows one to fill in perceptual, cognitive and emotional gaps. Material that has been out-of-vision can come to the surface where it can be worked through and seen in a new light. Its unique ability to give voice to hidden wounds has made the experiential model a therapy of choice for treatment centers and hospitals across the United States.” At Sovereign Health, we have designed our experiential therapy programs to facilitate self-expression, cognitive development and healthy lifestyle habits.

Experiential therapy techniques have proven useful for improving relationships, depression, anxiety, recovery from addiction and trauma. In the short term, these therapies can improve interpersonal communication and facilitate creativity. In the long term, previous hobbies are rekindled and new interests develop, both of which serve to foster a balanced way of living.

Experiential therapy activities at Sovereign Health vary somewhat by location and patient preferences, but generally include equine therapy, recreational therapy, expressive arts, yoga and other activities. The music therapy portion of expressive arts is very popular, and we have begun to incorporate Rock to Recovery in some of our locations.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a disease that manipulates a person’s sense of reward, motivation, memory and a number of related neurological functions.

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Equine therapy

During equine-assisted psychotherapy, patients interact with horses and build relationships with them based on mutual trust and understanding. Patients develop confidence, empathy, respect and social skills from working with these extraordinary animals.

Caring for horses increases the production of brain chemicals that regulate mood. These chemicals inhibit the stress response in the brain, stimulate the reward center and are often underproduced in individuals recovering from addiction or mental illness. It is not surprising that most patients love working with the horses.

Recreational therapy

Establishing a healthy lifestyle must include time for recreation, but many people in early recovery do not have the interest or enjoyment in things they once did. But at Sovereign Health, we know that remembering how to have fun is a good place to start.

Enjoying the local culture is also part of our recreational therapy. For instance, hiking, fishing, beach trips, cultural festivals and theater help our patients to transition back into community living while having fun at the same time. Religious activities and other faith-based outings can also be arranged.

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Expressive arts therapy

Expressive arts integrate the mind and body while improving self-understanding and self-expression. Music, visual arts, movement, drama and writing allow patients to nonverbally express their thoughts and feelings however they like.

Expressive arts allow individuals to communicate more authentically. Patients are reminded how to tune in to their inner voice and express themselves in a healthy, productive manner, which is a very important element of recovery.

Yoga

Yoga originated as an ancient Hindu method of balancing the mind, body and soul. Yoga then spread to the Western world, where it has become an accepted form of relaxation and exercise. Western yoga is not a religious practice, but it does promote spiritual well-being, making it popular among those in recovery. Many different types of yoga exist, but basic yoga consists of stretching, breathing and isometric/isotonic exercises.

Yoga has been found to be effective in studies on people with treatment-resistant depression, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and other mental and physical illnesses. Other enjoyable exercise opportunities are also available for patients who do not wish to participate in yoga classes.

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Other experiential elements

Patients share their own interests, skills and hobbies with one another at Sovereign Health during experiential therapy. Many have inspired other patients with their music, poetry, comedy, art, dance, hair design and other talents. At the very least, these experiences build self-confidence, social skills and relationships that can last a lifetime.

What our Clients Say!

‘We learned to talk about things in a safe environment & know we won’t be judged because we all have things we have to work towards here.’

What our Clients Say

Why choose Sovereign Health?

Sovereign Health is a leader in the treatment of mental health disorders, substance use disorders, or both. Sovereign Health uses experiential therapy activities to teach clients the life skills of getting in touch with their feelings and expressing those feelings in healthy ways. To learn more about our treatment programs, please visit our website or call our 24/7 helpline.