Various therapeutic approaches to help our patients process trauma and begin the healing process
Talking is powerful; but, talk therapy is not enough for everyone. Experiential therapies use metaphors and actions to help people have an experience of doing that can be life changing. Matched to individuals, these therapies provide breakthroughs that allow talk therapy to be at its most effective.
Recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction involves some abstract concepts—honesty, powerlessness, unmanageability, trust, and surrender. These can be difficult to grasp when your brain has been hijacked by addiction. Adventure Therapy, such as our High and Low Ropes Courses and our Climbing Wall, allow people to “get” these abstract concepts by creating actual physical, mental, and emotional experiences of them. When you are high off the ground in our Big Swing element, trust and surrender become much more real—even if you are in a safety harness!
Adventure Therapy is, in essence, the use of energizing experiences to improve mental and physical health. The practice is flexible; it can take place indoors or outdoors and in rural or urban settings. By using experiences that are active and changing, adventure therapy mirrors real-life instances that occur outside of standard talk therapy sessions. Clients learn basic survival skills, coping strategies and interpersonal skills that they can then apply to their lives outside of treatment. The basic premise, according to the Association for Experiential Education, is that a person can learn more effectively when all senses are engaged in the learning process and when he/she is directly involved in the process.
People come to addiction treatment with all kinds of feelings, many of them surrounding the losses and complicated grieving issues experienced in addiction. Art therapy is useful to people undergoing addiction treatment because it provides them with ways to understand and cope with these feelings. It is not necessarily easy for everyone to discuss or even articulate what they are feeling. This is what makes art therapy so effective during addiction treatment. There is no need to verbalize painful thoughts or struggle to find the right words to describe feelings. Rather, art therapy eliminates these obstacles and allows recovering addicts to express their inner issues and emotions in a visual manner. In recent years, art therapy has been one of Cumberland Heights’ fastest growing forms of expressive therapy.
Our art therapist may facilitate a group or individual session in which you’re assisted to explore your feelings or a particular topic through the use of different art media and the creative process. You may be amazed at what you can create and learn from this experience.
“Art therapy can be a great way for a person to work through their experiences, emotions and issues which led to and worsened their addiction,” said Rebecca Sledge, LPC-MHSP, ATR.
As a chronic disease, addiction requires ongoing recovery management. Every Cumberland Heights patient receives education about relapse and relapse prevention. If someone has had a period of recovery and then returned to active addiction, they will participate in relapse-specific group therapy with a counselor who specializes in relapse prevention. Part of the work includes examining life events/patterns leading to relapse, identification of individual “triggers” and warning signs. Development of a relapse prevention plan helps you process the relapse and move forward on more solid ground.
Relapse Prevention counselors offer a supportive environment and the particular assistance needed to understand and consciously disarm the unresolved issues blocking your ability to move forward in recovery.
A central part of recovery is that of finding daily spiritual practices that help you feel connected to your concept of a Higher Power, yourself, and others. Several different types are introduced to patients while at Cumberland Heights. No one knows when or how long ago the original labyrinth practice was developed, but we do know that labyrinths were used widely in cathedrals in Europe. The Labyrinth at Cumberland Heights is modeled after that of Chartres Cathedral in France.
The Labyrinth is not a maze. There is no getting lost or having to find your way out. It is simply an intentional walk in—leaving the worries and fears of daily life behind in an attempt to get closer to the Center—the Center of your Higher Power, yourself, or however you define it. Once in the Center, stay awhile, see what you find there, and take what you need back with you on your way out. Research, as well as the deep personal testimonies of others who’ve walked it before you, speak to the healing power of this experience.
Listening to your favorite music has probably helped you forget physical and emotional pain. Many studies proved that sessions with a trained music therapist reduce pain, improve state of mind and reduce stress or anxiety for those with addictive patterns.
Music therapy has been used by some medical practitioners for many years in the treatment of various physical, mental and neurological problems. Research has also indicated the value of music for rehabilitation of patients with addiction, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and depression. It’s no wonder many of us feel the positive vibes that music therapy provides in addiction recovery. It has been one of our most popular therapies!
Our group-based music therapy may involve activities such as developing a compilation, writing lyrics for a song or creating a playlist of relaxing music for personal stress reduction. Improvising on instruments may be used to tap into creativity or deep emotions.
SPIRITUAL CARE SERVICES
The purpose of Spiritual Care Services at Cumberland Heights is to show you there is hope in recovery. We believe regaining the connection to yourself, to those you love, and to the joy of life are at the heart of recovery.
The key concepts of spirituality at Cumberland Heights are that you are the explorer, the one who journeys, and you define what spirituality means to you. Spirituality is about Practice. It is about those things you choose to do every day which help you feel connected to yourself, those you love and something greater than you, whatever that turns out to be.
We believe regaining the connection to yourself, to those you love, and to the joy of life are at the heart of recovery. We offer services to those of all faiths and none, those who are angry, those who feel ashamed and those who feel numb. Our hands are held out to you!
We work in groups where we talk about issues like anger, resentment and forgiveness, or grief and loss, or shame and guilt, or what the difference is between religion and spirituality. We also offer individual sessions in which you work with one of our Spiritual Directors.
Our Spiritual Care Directors use many techniques, including mindfulness meditation: a type of “living in the moment” meditation practice known to decrease relapse risk. We also provide a Labyrinth Experience, modeled after a famous labyrinth in Chartes Cathedral in France, which helps you to gradually let go of all your worries.
Early recovery is a time of waking up and coming back to ourselves, often after many years of being disconnected. Sometimes, this can be a shock. Yoga offers a gentle path to begin to remember that we are physical beings and that this is a good thing. Learning to recognize and accept feelings of discomfort, anxiety and stress in our bodies allows us to let them pass. What remains is a sense of relaxation and well-being in mind, body, and spirit. Research has demonstrated that yoga changes the brain’s chemistry in a way that decreases feelings of anxiety and depression. Yoga also calms down the sympathetic nervous system, reduces cravings and helps to better manage cravings over time as they too are identified, accepted and allowed to move on through and away. And, it’s simple.
At Cumberland Heights, we teach Y12SR (Yoga and 12-Step Recovery), a method that puts together the wisdom of traditional yoga, the practical tools of 12-Step programs, and research on neurobiology and trauma healing. This holistic therapy supports the rest of the treatment experience—and it’s easy! You don’t have to be a pretzel to benefit. With classes available in community settings across the U.S., this is a practice you can take with you on your recovery journey. Over time, this often becomes a deeper way to experience trust in yourself and your body as the source of wisdom it was always meant to be.
Addiction is a biopsychosocial-spiritual disease; recovery involves each of these areas as well. The mind-body-spirit connection is well documented in healing from all types of disease. This is particularly true in addiction recovery where it often takes up to a full year before the body chemistry is totally back to normal. Guess what speeds up that healing? Your 7th grade health teacher was right! Eating good food, exercise, managing stress, socializing with healthy people and getting a good night’s sleep. Therapeutic Recreation at Cumberland Heights borrows a slogan from the 12 Step Program—Never Get Too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. In other words, if you do, HALT! Each week, our activities counselor takes one of these specific topics and gives practical information about how to apply this in daily recovery. This brief information sharing is followed by FUN! Everything from warm up exercises in our workout room to basketball or volleyball in the gym to tai chi or walks on our beautiful campus trails down to the fishing pond is on the agenda. The idea is to find what you like and do it. We don’t miss special events either. We love to celebrate recovery and life in general with water balloon fights, field days and holiday celebrations. The point is that eating well, exercising, and sleeping well can be fun, as well as good for you. When’s the last time you laughed? You will with us!
Peace of mind—isn’t that what most of us want? Mindfulness meditation is a way to get there. Mindfulness is not about getting into an uncomfortable position and trying to force your mind to do things that don’t come naturally. Rather, mindfulness is about learning to observe—our thoughts, our feelings, our physical sensations and what’s going on around us. It’s about accepting ourselves and our circumstances just as they are at this moment. It’s only from that place of peace and clarity that we can choose to act, rather than react, gaining our freedom back a little at a time. It’s not hard, but it takes practice.
There’s a long history of research that documents the benefits of mindfulness on overall health, stress reduction, as well as reducing anxiety and depression. There is also a developing body of knowledge that shows that regular mindfulness practice decreases relapse by helping us better manage people or places that trigger us, as well as reducing and managing cravings. Mindfulness also gives us tools to slow down so we don’t take impulsive action we may regret later.
At Cumberland Heights, we see mindfulness meditation as a spiritual tool that can be used by anyone of any faith or none. In our weekly sessions, as well as an additional session on Sunday, you’ll be introduced to some simple exercises that you can take with you to practice alone as well as with others. We find that the more this simple practice is developed, the more results you’ll see.
Experience the Cumberland Heights difference. Our treatment professionals will create a unique plan to meet your specific needs. Call 800-646-9998 to learn more about our experiential therapies for drug and alcohol addiction treatment.