How Experiential Therapy Can Help With Substance Abuse

Addiction is something that is impacting people around the world and families are looking for answers when it comes to helping their loved ones. For many, traditional talk therapy is not as impactful as other methods such as experiential therapy. By using experiences as opposed to just discussion, patients can open up more by letting down their guard.

This type of therapy first began being explored back in the 1970s using activities that involved role-playing, props, guided imagery, and a range of other experiences that have continued to develop and change over the years. Experiential therapy includes many different experiences and activities that are tailored to each patient. These activities are tailored to each patient and more than one is often used during their treatment plan.

Popular Techniques In Experiential Therapy

The activities that are used in this category of therapy are very action-oriented in general. While some of these techniques still take place in an office such as role-playing, canine, psychodrama, music, and other therapies; many take place in other environments such as the outdoors. Some of these outdoor activity-based therapies include equine, wilderness, and adventure therapies. In addition to these, there are many more techniques that can be used to approach drug abuse with this category of treatment methods.

How Does It Work?

Substance abuse is seen as an illness that involves spiritual, physical, and emotional aspects. The experiences and encounters that are used in this type of therapy address the spiritual and emotional sides of addiction in hopes of helping the patient to open up about the trauma and other experiences that have led them to their current condition. By being able to focus on the activities that are part of treatment, mental health professionals work to help these patients feel the emotions that they have been trying to repress. Sorting through negative feelings can be difficult but without doing it, it may prevent being able to feel inner peace, forgiveness, and love.

Past trauma that has not been fully processed can keep people in unhealthy and dangerous cycles with alcoholism and substance abuse. Mental health professionals are able to arrange challenges for these patients that help them process these emotional experiences through re-enactment and re-experiencing. By revealing these hidden memories and processing them, patients can more easily experience positive feelings and emotions that make life worth living.

Why Is It So Effective With Substance Abuse?

While patients may be able to achieve sobriety, it is often difficult to obtain. Most addicts have underlying mental disorders and repressed feelings that they have been using drugs to deal with. Drug abuse is not the only type of mental illness that experiential therapy can be useful in addressing. Many people who are dealing with drug abuse have gone to the point of rationalizing their actions. Because of the denial that so many addicts face, achieving and maintaining sobriety can be difficult as there are many complex issues that need to be addressed and processed that relate to self-esteem, deep feelings, and emotional triggers.
NRhythm is a sober living community located in Nashville, TN. Our team of recovery professionals is passionate about helping men and women overcome addiction so that they are free to be the best versions of themselves. To learn more about NRhythm or how to live a sober life, get in touch with us.

We are here to help those affected by Covid-19. If you need support during this time, book a teletherapy session or an online wellness check-in with us.

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