Typical substance abuse treatment involves educational groups, group therapy and individual therapy that are vital to the client’s recovery. It is important for the client to learn how to process their issues through these methods.
Addiction is a very complicated behavioral disease. As such, there are many different methods to help people overcome it and reclaim their lives. Different rehab centers use different methods to help different types of individuals overcome the hold that substance abuse has over them. One particularly common method that we see today is experiential rehab, which is based on experiential therapy.
Experiential therapy provides the client with opportunities and experiences that open up new horizons for learning. These activities and experiences can act as a catalyst to help the client work through issues surrounding their drug addiction and other problems. Some of the most impactful changes in behavior come through these personal experiences because they allow the client to be more open and relaxed than they might be in a more structured therapy session.
Experiential therapy at Renaissance Ranch includes hiking, snowshoeing, nature walks, fishing, ropes courses, spiritual work, meditation, and yoga. Clients also enjoy sports, bowling, movies, and museums.
As clients become involved in these activities, they are able to find ways to express their feelings and thoughts that they may have previously had a hard time expressing. They may also be able to tap into repressed memories or emotions and uncover the roots of problems they have been struggling with.
Service and Treatment
Service is also a key part of experiential therapy. Serving others is an essential element of long-term sobriety. It is important that our clients understand and experience the relationship of service to recovery. We provide weekly service opportunities for our clients to participate in that give back to the community.
During or after the experiential therapy, our trained therapists and counselors discuss the experiences with the clients to share insights into their behaviors and allow the clients to share their feelings about the experience. Together, the client and counselors can discover what prompts certain behaviors and apply the lessons learned to the client’s recovery process.
These experiences serve to help the client replace previous, addiction-based rituals and activities with a productive, fun, meaningful, and sober lifestyle. These experiences introduce clients to new activities that they can use to replace drug use and other harmful habits. Clients also are able to develop self-confidence as they uncover new talents and interests.
Types of Experimental Rehad
The most common utilization of experiential therapy is to use nature and wilderness settings to the advantage of recovery. This is often done in the form of adventure therapy, which uses participation in invigorating activities as a way to cut through the hum-and-drum of modern life and build a person’s inner being, as you cut out the technology and endless attachment to the internet that fills a person’s life. This may involve rafting, hiking, mountain climbing, horseback riding, or any other number of nature-based activities. This type of rehab center greatly appeals to young adults, who are often struggling with addiction at a higher rate than other individuals.
The use of animals is often a powerful example of experiential therapy, and it is frequently used in rehabs. The most common example of this is with equine therapy, where patients help take care of horses. The act of caring for another living creature builds a foundation of responsibility and compassion, which are important traits in building towards a true and lasting recovery from addiction. While horses are used as the most common example of animal-based therapy, dogs are popular, as well, and there are endless examples of animals that help build the same principles.
Another example of experiential rehab is expressive therapy, which is essentially the use of art, creativity, and personal expression to work through problematic emotions and deal with underlying issues. There are several key types of expressive therapies, which are classified based on the medium of expression that is used:
- Music Therapy
- Art Therapy
- Poetry Therapy
Skills Learned in Experimental Therapy
- Communication: Many forms of experiential therapy are meant to help recovering addicts learn valuable communication skills. These skills allow you to express yourself in a non-destructive way, to rebuild relationships, and to communicate your needs. Communication skills can be built in surprising ways.
- Managing Emotions: Experiential therapy can put people in situations where emotions run high, and then teach them to cope with their feelings in a healthy way. Any form of physical activity such as hiking or biking is a great tool for managing emotions. Expending energy releases endorphins regulates your mood, and allows your mind to do some of its best work as your body is working too.
- Self Awareness: As addiction takes over your life, you really lose touch with who you are. Simple things like what you like to eat and how you want to spend your free time can seem like really hard questions for someone who has been spending all their time using or obtaining drugs or alcohol. Experiential therapy is a way for you to begin getting to know yourself again. You can discover new interests or reconnect with old ones as you engage in these activities.
Call Renaissance Ranch Today!
If you want to learn more about Renaissance Ranch’s inpatient treatment program, please don’t hesitate to give our team a call today. We are one of the top drug treatment centers in Utah and will stop at nothing to get you the treatment that you deserve.