The Experiential Programming portion of the outpatient program is designed to teach clients how to challenge themselves, set goals, explore new avenues of abilities, teach teamwork and create new attitudes and outlooks on recovery and sobriety.
Yoga allows for a connection between the mind, body, and spirit. Stress reduction and exercise are essential aspects of a well-rounded recovery program. Yoga gives a person the opportunity to go within to experience relaxation. This helps people to manage impulsivity, behaviors, and emotions. Therefore, yoga is a practice of action rather than reaction that is attained through breathing and guided focus. This focus allows for people to gain the ability to be in the present moment. Being in the present moment allows a person to become more solution oriented to what changes and actions the may take to enhance their recovery.
Meditation teaches a person to become an observer. This may be about noticing internal states of being or what is happening around an individual. Meditation provides a pause in the day. The idea of one day at a time may get broken down into one second at a time. Different forms of meditation are explored. This includes breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, walking meditation, or journaling.
Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy
Horses provide a barometer for people to look at self. The arena becomes the office and information generally comes up more quickly. This allows for clients to go from a head place into experiencing through interaction and observation. Horses act as a mirror providing feedback in a non-verbal way. Horses are sensitive, powerful, and for the most part live in the present moment.
By nature horses are herd animals. Within a herd there are leaders and followers. Also, horses are prey animals so they have a fight, flight, and freeze response. So, the focus of many sessions is about family systems and group dynamics. This includes communication, trust building, looking at beliefs, and processing emotions. During the experience mindfulness activities are done in regards to being around horses. Safety is the top priority. All activities are done on the ground. There is no riding involved.
Equine therapy is utilized in the family portion of the outpatient program as well. It can be a tool to demonstrate non-verbal communication techniques within family systems and communication styles within individuals. This therapy offers the client an opportunity to literally see the challenges that are present with themselves and in their families and allows families to see where their hurdles are in effective and open communication.
Rocks and Ropes is one of the most popular experiential activities offered at In Balance. This activity offers clients the ability to learn how to take healthy risks, build self confidence and self-esteem and also allows a wonderful opportunity to understand the importance of team work and asking for help (an essential aspect of continued recovery from drugs and alcohol). Challenging oneself in this area also helps expose clients to new avenues of exercise and having fun which are also important aspects of recovery.
Hiking at Mt. Lemmon or Sabino Canyon
Our local parks and recreation locations are an excellent environment to begin to incorporate exercise, meditation and for clients to begin to challenge their thinking about what is fun in recovery. Our trips to Mt. Lemmon often include a 12 step meeting discussion or readings from 12 step texts. Our hikes to Sabino Canyon allow clients to challenge themselves in a healthy way regarding exercise with the reward of camaraderie around a waterfall or flowing creek. In this relaxed state, recovering people are often more able to discuss personal issues with ease. Observing the surroundings, connecting to nature, and being in the present moment are gifts.
People express and process information and emotions in various ways. Creative activities allow individuals to tap into their subconscious to show a visual representation of their experience.
Psychodrama is primarily a group action activity that puts a premium on showing aspects of a person’s life be it from the past, present or some future hope or fear. Group members are able to realize new ways of responding to the lifestyle changes needed as they invest themselves in their recovery. The approach at In Balance emphasizes allowing the person to find the best that is within them and in doing so allowing a person in recovery to discover or rediscover their higher power, challenge addictive and irrational thinking, express unexpressed feelings to significant people in their lives along with learning how to empathize with points of view that differ from their own. Psychodrama can be viewed as a rehearsal for living, a chance to symbolically realize something that life did not allow and a chance to gain new healthy perspectives.
Guided Imagery is a gentle method that allows a person in recovery to visualize new ways of being. This is usually done through the use of being read a script in a soothing tone of voice often accompanied by soft relaxing music while the listener sits comfortably or is in a reclining position. The benefits are endless. People in recovery are given opportunities to improve self-esteem, find answers to perplexing questions, rehearse how to handle troublesome situations, develop a fund of positive images to combat stress and visualize healthy living. At In Balance it has been successfully used with people from the ages of 18 to 65. A common response is that it helps put the day in perspective, gives much needed relaxation and opens up avenues to growth and change.
EMDR- Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing
EMDR is a form of information processing that includes an eight phase approach with many procedural elements that contribute to its success. This includes identification of the problem, preparation, resourcing, assessment, desensitization, installation, body scanning, closure, and re-evaluation.
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) is a breakthrough therapy used to treat various types of trauma. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), sexual assault or abuse, anxiety, panic disorders, phobias, physical abuse, depression, eating disorders and other traumatic events can all benefit from the use of EMDR. Trauma can be devastating to an individual and cause them to have lasting effects; using EMDR can help individuals process and recover from such trauma.
When something traumatic or difficult happens a person may continue to hold onto images, sounds, feelings, sensations, and thoughts. It seems that in can be locked inside and cause ongoing discomfort depending on triggers. When working through the change process the therapist will do bilateral stimulation or the activation of the right and left hemispheres of the brain. This might mean eye movement, hand taps, auditory tones or a combination of them. EMDR provides neural integration, which helps to alleviate symptoms and allows a sense of well-being to occur.