Recovery treatment comes in different forms depending on the facility you are attending. Spero Recovery, for example, uses peer-led experiential therapy to help you work through the steps of your recovery. We believe using new activities can greatly benefit you on this journey. This is a time of rediscovery and learning who you are without substance use, and experiential therapy can help you with this. Things you once enjoyed may not be appealing anymore, and new things you never thought you would like may become your favorite thing.
What Is Experiential Therapy?
Experiential therapy is the use of participation in activities to treat your substance use disorder (SUD) and other mental health conditions. It is the combination of multiple therapeutic interventions, including emotional processing, creativity, and reflection. This type of treatment is more than just talk therapy, which can really help you, especially if you have trouble opening up and confiding in others.
Types Experiential Therapy
Some types of experiential therapy include:
- Music therapy: This is the use of music and instruments to positively impact thought processes and behavior.
- Art therapy: Art therapy utilizes images and artistic creation to help you process emotions, become self-aware, and convey how you are feeling. Examples include painting, sculpting, woodworking, and photography.
- Psychodrama: This therapy incorporates acting and roleplaying to help you process situations. It can help with processing past experiences or roleplaying different scenarios you may be put in while working through the steps of your recovery. Examples include confronting someone you hurt while under the influence. Roleplaying this ahead of time can help you prepare for a variety of responses from them.
- Expressive therapy: Here, you use different writing techniques to express emotions and help you cope with experiences.
- Animal-assisted therapy: Using animals can include helping care for them or just having them present during the therapy session. This is not just bringing any animal into a therapy session. It is the use of trained animals to help you.
- Equine therapy: This is the use of horses in therapy to treat various mental health conditions, substance use disorders, and traumatic injuries. It also helps improve confidence and socialization for those with an autism spectrum disorder.
- Adventure therapy: Activities, nature, and community are used to provide therapy. This can include a wide range and intensity of activities, such as sand volleyball, nature hikes, kayaking, skiing, swimming, camping, caving, rock climbing, and cooking classes.
Benefits of Experiential Therapy
Some benefits include the following:
- Helps you find new hobbies and outlets for your emotions
- Teaches you skills and how to be self-sufficient once you are out of treatment
- Helps in rediscovering who you are without substance use
- Builds trusting and healthy relationships
- Teaches you ways to be proactive instead of reactive in your problem-solving
- Improves your self-awareness, which helps you stop thinking about everything else and focus on the task at hand
- Increases your self-confidence as you improve in your ability to complete the activity and become more confident in yourself
- Improves your communication skills
- Creates better coping skills because you are able to lean on the others participating and the activity itself instead of reaching out for bad coping mechanisms, such as substance use
Potential Drawbacks of Experiential Therapy
- It can be expensive for the facility to implement, which can increase the costs you have to pay.
- You may feel overwhelmed at first, depending on the activity, the size of the group, and how comfortable you are in the program.
Who Is Spero Recovery?
Spero Recovery is a nonprofit recovery facility. We strive to provide high-quality and affordable care to everyone. Using grants and donations to keep their costs below the national average makes them the perfect option for the under and uninsured individuals seeking long-term sobriety.
We use a 12-Step model to base our programs. This provides you with goals to meet as you work through recovery. It can also help you find a sense of community and support from your peers.
Our programs include peer-led experiential therapy. This means that alumni of the program come back to run different activities to help you move through the recovery steps. Some of the activities we offer are meditation, nature hikes, woodworking, sand volleyball, tea ceremonies, hiking, and cooking classes.
Using alumni is beneficial for both you and them. It gives you the opportunity to connect with someone that has been successful in the treatment program and is a visual that you can be too. You may also feel more comfortable opening up to them because they have been through a similar experience. The alumni are given the opportunity to connect with members of and give back to their community.
These programs are separate for men and women because Spero understands that there are different needs to be met for each gender. For example, we emphasize changing the mentality of “being a man” for the men’s program. This means they work to change the thought process that men seeking help, admitting they have a problem, or them showing emotion as them being weak.
Using different experiences can help you throughout your recovery journey. These experiences can provide an outlet, bring you closer to others and help you branch out in your community. They can help you find new interests you may not have thought you would even enjoy. You can also have your experiential therapy run by a peer or alumni of the program, so it would give you the opportunity to see someone that has been successful. It also gives you the chance to talk to someone that went through a similar situation as yourself. If you are curious about experiential therapy while in recovery, reach out to Spero Recovery at (303) 351-7888 for more information today.