Experiential Therapy in Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 | By JP Emerald Coast

Seeking refuge in Experiential Therapy

Patients often come to JourneyPure Emerald Coast looking to restore themselves and to become whole again. Experiential Therapy is just one way we help improve total wellness for these patients. Today’s fast-paced world can make it difficult for individuals to resolve patterns and make sense of their emotional state, leading to interference with personal well-being and contributing to their own addiction.

Dual diagnosis, sometimes referred to as co-occurring disorder, means the substance abuse or chemical dependency is paired with other mental health conditions, with both happening simultaneously. According to research, 35% of alcoholics and 53% of addicts struggle with at least one other mental illness. Often, mental and substance use disorders share some underlying causes. Changes in brain composition, genetic abnormalities, and early exposure to trauma are all causes that correlate with mental health and substance abuse disorders. 

When you seek to live a sober lifestyle and improve overall mental health by focusing on such key aspects as attention, focus, self-esteem and the ability to trust others as well as one’s self, experiential treatment is of great benefit. “Experiential Therapy” is an umbrella term to cover a variety of therapeutic activities that goes beyond traditional patient-doctor talk therapy. Some examples of experiential therapies include outdoor/wilderness therapy, equine therapy, art therapy, song-writing, and others. 

How is Experiential Therapy Different and Why is it Important?

A key differentiator of experiential therapy is that it operates outside of one’s own intellect and analytical understanding. It allows patients to immerse themselves in a different experience by tapping into the subconscious. The quick responses Experiential Therapy requires allow patterns and motivations to be revealed. These patterns and motivations might not otherwise be made known through self-analysis. 

Key Benefits of Experiential Therapy

Reduced feelings of hopelessness, anxiety and depression, reduction in destructive and undesirable behaviors, and restored balance and improved coping skills have all been reported as results of Experiential Therapy. In one study that focused on improving relationships through Equine therapy (one form Experiential Therapy), 94.3% of respondents reported that at least on occasion their personal relationships changed for the better. More notably, 67.1% reported ‘Yes,’ relationships have improved in general. 

One recent meta-analysis of 197 studies of adventure therapy (another form of Experiential Therapy) found it to be moderately effective regarding positive short-term change in psychological, behavioral, emotional, and interpersonal functions. Moreover, these changes appear to be better maintained over the long term. 

Treating Patients with experiential therapy at JourneyPure Emerald Coast

  • Songwriting Workshops
  • Equine Therapy
  • Team-Building Activities
  • Outdoor Challenges and Recreational Activities
  • Wilderness and Adventure Therapy
  • Mindfulness and meditation

are all Experiential Therapies offered to patients at JourneyPure Emerald Coast. Through participation in these programs, patients are able to let their guard down more easily than in individual and group talk sessions. Following the Experiential Therapy session, patients can process feelings with a trained therapist. The therapy also benefits the therapist, who can provide better feedback, reflection, and helpful discussion.

Seeking recovery for you or a loved one

JourneyPure Emerald Coast is a great place to learn more about how Experiential Therapy and other recovery programs can work for you. If you or a loved one is seeking treatment, please contact us today at (844) 849-7957.  Our admissions team can help.

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