People typically have different learning styles. While some people think they fare better with hands-on activities, others consider themselves visual learners. Similarly, not all people respond the same to various types of addiction treatment programs. Sitting and talking won’t give everyone their biggest breakthrough. For many, participating in therapeutic recreation has a more powerful effect.
What is Therapeutic Recreation?
Therapeutic recreation, or recreational therapy, uses leisurely activities to address an individual’s specific needs, whether behavioral, emotional, or psychological. Using activities as an intervention mechanism might help improve any cognitive, social, and physical issues an individual may face.
At first glance, snowboarding seems unimpactful for an individual fighting drug addiction. Yet, this type of therapeutic recreation can complement other styles of recreational substance abuse treatment and bring emotions that an individual has buried to the surface.
For instance, individuals with a long history of substance abuse may stop participating in hobbies they once found fulfilling. Engaging in social activities without consuming an intoxicating substance might be lost on them. If they began using drugs or alcohol to mask the effects of a traumatic experience, recreational therapy can help pull the mask off in a non-threatening way.
Their behavior may change while participating in fun activities. Soon, they understand they don’t need the presence of alcohol or drugs to relax.
Many individuals discover activities they love in expressive addiction therapy services, art therapies, and outdoor activities.
Goals for Therapeutic Recreation
One powerful benefit of recreational therapy is helping individuals drop defenses that block true change. It isn’t uncommon during counseling sessions for individuals to say what they think the therapist wants to hear.
Engaging in recreational activities could break down these misconceptions and barriers. Individuals are free to connect with their emotions. It becomes possible to heal from whatever bonded them to drugs or alcohol.
Some goals to target during this style of therapy may include:
- Building relationships
- Working through anger problems
- Improving communication skills
- Experiencing a sense of accomplishment
- Learning when to ask for help
- Developing team-building skills
Participation in activities helps to reduce the stress that often triggers anxiety and depression. Therapy helps to moderate neurotransmitters in the brain that may cause individuals to gravitate toward substance abuse.
How Effective is Therapeutic Recreation?
Recreational therapy becomes part of a larger treatment plan for individuals undergoing rehabilitation from addiction. Positive reinforcements may enhance individual therapy, family therapy, and group therapy sessions. Continued abstinence becomes more appealing, which can eventually reduce an individual’s risk of relapsing.
To someone on the outside looking in, this therapy technique may seem like people beginning recovery are just having a good time. However, those who participate and those who guide these activities know it serves a greater purpose.
Individuals are on a path towards a healthy recovery while they rebuild their leisure life. Engaging with others who share a sober and balanced mindset can energize individuals for a new life after completing rehab.
More Than Just a Healing Experience
Therapeutic recreation does more than help you heal. It can help you establish a solid foundation for your interests as you begin a new life of sobriety. Through recreational activities that begin during rehab, you can learn new ways of being in healthy environments.
That’s why Crestview Recovery offers recreational therapy as part of our addiction treatment programs.
We merge the concept of engaging in fun activities with life skills rehab. Some therapeutic activities we offer include:
- Animal therapy
- Whitewater rafting
If you’re ready to end the control addiction has over your life, Crestview Recovery offers a variety of rehabilitative programs to meet your needs. Contact us at 866.262.0531, and we’ll design a plan that moves you forward in long-term recovery.
Since 2016, Dr. Merle Williamson, a graduate of Oregon Health Sciences University, has been the Medical Director at Crestview Recovery, bringing a rich background in addiction medicine from his time at Hazelden Treatment Center. He oversees outpatient drug and alcohol treatments, providing medical care, setting policies, detox protocols, and quality assurance measures. Before specializing in addiction medicine, he spent 25 years in anesthesiology, serving as Chair of Hospital Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee and Chief of Anesthesia at Kaiser Permanente. This experience gives him a unique perspective on treating prescription drug addiction.