In a recent entry, we asked you to imagine yourself starting a garden—and we pointed out that the first step would be to ask a simple question: What kind of garden are you going to start? Our point in that blog—and in this one—is that the word “garden” is easy to understand, but it also covers a lot of ground (as it were). After all, a flower garden is very different from a vegetable garden even though they are both undeniably gardens. That idea of a somewhat vague word that serves as an umbrella covering a range of more specific words or phrases applies not just to gardens but to the word “therapy” as well.
Last time out, we took a look at cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and family systems therapy. But just like radishes, lettuce, and cucumbers are just three of many potential options for your garden, CBT, DBT, and family systems therapy are just three of many potential options for therapy.
Let’s look at a few more.
We would be the first to acknowledge that notions of recreation and therapy do not seem to go together. After all, no one (we hope!) pursues therapy as a hobby. But recreational therapy is, in fact, a thing, and activities that look a lot like hobbies are certainly involved.
The idea is that recreational activities can be leveraged to provide real mental wellness gains. So whether it’s hiking or bowling or making music or any of a huge number of other options, the goals of recreational therapy are the same. Those goals include:
- Reduced feelings of anxiety and stress
- Increased feelings of self-confidence and self-esteem
- Stronger feelings of sustained interest and connection
- Improved quality of life
The key to success when it comes to recreational therapy is working with a trained therapist to find the activity or activities that can provide those benefits.
Most of us love a good story. But when it comes to telling stories to ourselves about ourselves, we have a tendency to focus on the bad. Narrative therapy seeks to help people change their internal story so that it focuses on the positive. The idea is that your internal storyteller—it might be more accurate to call that voice your internal critic—needs to be rooting for you rather than against you.
Imagine, for example, that someone asks you to help them paint their garage. Maybe you have painted several garages in the past—and maybe it hasn’t always gone perfectly. You might find yourself focusing on the time you painted the trim the wrong color or the time you spilled a paint can all over the driveway. But the odds are pretty good that most of the time, you did a perfectly reasonable job—maybe even a really good job.
With the help of a therapist, you can get better at reminding yourself of what you do well rather than always focusing on things that have gone wrong. Making that shift is good for your mental health.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
When the therapeutic approach known as EMDR is first described, it can sound a little strange. The process involves eye movements, tapping exercises, and tones to help a person change their mental relationship with traumatic events they have experienced. Under the guidance of a trained therapist, a person undergoing EMDR will find that the grip of past traumas can be loosened so that they are not so painful and disruptive.
The therapy can be very effective for those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or who have survived adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).
We Will Help You Grow Your Mental Health–Which Is Good for Your Sobriety
We noted in the first entry of the miniseries that mental health and sobriety are intertwined. That is why we address co-occurring mental health disorders during rehabilitation at The Aviary Recovery Center. Improving your overall mental well-being is an important way to ensure you provide fertile soil for your hard-won sobriety.
If you are struggling with drugs or alcohol, our Missouri facility can provide compassionate, evidence-based care that will be personalized for your specific needs. A substance use disorder is like a dark cloud over your life. We can help you let the sunlight of sobriety shine.