therapeutic modalities: An Experiential Philosophy
CBT, DBT, EMDR
our therapeutic modalities
at choice house
At Choice House in Boulder, Colorado, we understand that substance abuse often coincides with mental disorders. This could be because an individual struggling with mental illness turns to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism, or the mental illness could result from drug use. Either way, our addiction recovery programs take a holistic approach to healing each client. The therapeutic modalities we use at our drug and alcohol rehab facility are designed to provide an individual recovery plan that fits each person’s needs accordingly. Learn more about some of our therapeutic methods below.
types of therapeutic modalities
Experiential and Psychodrama Therapy
Experiential therapy is a treatment modality that harnesses the power of adventure, recreation, expression, creativity and other therapeutic activities to help individuals work through their issues and achieve a greater sense of mental wellness. Psychodrama is the original form of experiential therapy and uses role-play to encourage deeper levels of self-awareness and provide insight into one’s thoughts or behaviors. During this process, participants reenact a particular scenario from their lives to bring forth past traumas and experiences that need to be dealt with. Experiential therapy and psychodrama are effective ways for individuals to express themselves and resolve cognitive or emotional conflicts.
Psychotherapy is a form of talk therapy used to help clients with a wide range of mental health or behavioral problems, including addiction. It is a core component of most treatment plans and can be tailored to the needs of groups, couples or individuals. There are several different kinds of psychotherapy available, but cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) remain two of the most popular techniques. CBT focuses on identifying and restructuring unhealthy beliefs or patterns of thought that may lead to self-destructive behaviors, while DBT is designed to help individuals find a balance between acceptance and change by coming to terms with negative thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Psychotherapy is ideal for anyone struggling with a mental health or substance abuse disorder.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy can be done one-on-one, with families, or in a group setting. During treatment, a licensed therapist will encourage individuals to discuss the issues causing them psychological distress, such as grief, divorce, addiction or trauma. Then, they’ll probe deeper to identify harmful thought patterns that contribute to maladaptive behaviors. For example, someone struggling with addiction might feel hopeless or frustrated, convinced that recovery is out of reach. In response, they might bury the pain with more drugs or alcohol, reinforcing a negative cycle. CBT aims to help individuals recognize these distorted thoughts and develop healthier ways of thinking, improving their mood, outlook, and coping skills.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy is a modified form of CBT that seeks to help people accept the need for change and manage destructive behaviors. Compared to CBT, this technique focuses more on how a person interacts with themselves and others. It strongly emphasizes the importance of mindfulness, emotional regulation, increased distress tolerance and healthy relationships. During treatment, individuals work with a therapist to discover harmful thought patterns, but they’ll also learn how to accept and react to them in a positive way.
Neurofeedback monitors and regulates brainwave patterns. It helps improve functioning by harnessing the brain’s ability to adapt or change. During treatment, an individual’s brainwave activity is first mapped to identify areas of concern. Then, a treatment protocol will be developed to enhance or inhibit certain brainwaves. This is often achieved by using visual or audio feedback that responds to optimal brainwave patterns, but stops functioning when it detects abnormal activity (loss of focus, stress, etc.). The brain corrects itself to keep the feedback running smoothly, learning healthier ways of functioning in the process. Since certain brainwaves are related to various states of mind, this technique can be used to help individuals with a wide range of problems, including substance abuse, anxiety, depression, emotional regulation, learning disabilities and more.
Somatic therapy is grounded in the idea that trauma is stored within the body and has a physical impact that manifests as stress, tension or pain. This might become evident in an individual’s movements, posture or body language, or experienced as physical symptoms like muscle aches, sleep disturbances or indigestion. The purpose of somatic therapy is to identify and mitigate the long-lasting effects of a previous traumatic event by emphasizing the mind-body connection. This method examines the relationship between a client’s nervous system and stressful memories to help them release the physical, mental and emotional anguish that still affects them, using therapeutic techniques that might include massage, meditation, grounding exercises, breathwork and movement. Somatic therapy can be helpful for those who suffer from anxiety, depression, grief, addiction, stress and issues related to abuse or trauma.
Group therapy can take many forms and is often utilized in drug addiction and recovery programs. The goal is to build mutual support and trust among participants, encouraging them to share their experiences so that they can learn and grow from them. Group therapy provides a safe space where clients can open up and feel heard, helping them understand they are not alone on their recovery journey. For many, this is a transformative experience that brings new perspectives to the table as the objective input of others inspires introspection, growth and self-analysis. The process is guided by a skilled therapist who guides the discussion with compassion, creating opportunities for clients to further support one another as they find healing from past addictions. Group therapy can help anyone seeking treatment for addiction or co-occurring mental health disorders.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapeutic technique that specifically focuses on treating clients who have experienced past trauma. It is especially useful for those who are struggling with PTSD and works by revisiting traumatic and stressful events that continue to cause mental or emotional distress. During this highly specialized form of treatment, clients are asked to relive these incidents while the therapist directs their attention to an external stimulus that creates bilateral eye movement. The therapist will then evaluate the psychological response and tailor treatment sessions based on a client’s progress. This facilitates healing by allowing individuals to safely process their trauma until it no longer disrupts their mental wellness. EMDR has been shown to greatly diminish the negative impact of traumatic memories and help individuals let go of any negative thoughts, behaviors or emotions they may have caused throughout the years.
Intervention Through Art
Creative therapies, such as art therapy, are extremely powerful tools that are commonly used in addiction and mental health treatment to improve the healing process. Art therapy allows self-expression through creative activities like painting, drawing or sculpting that can help clients process their emotions, communicate better, overcome stress and explore different aspects of their own experiences. Making art has been shown to enhance the mental well-being of individuals from all walks of life, and art therapy builds upon this to relieve the symptoms of mental, emotional or physical distress. No previous artistic skill or experience is needed to participate in art therapy, but clients are encouraged to find associations between their creative choices and their inner lives. By providing a safe space for active imagination and non-judgmental inquiry, art therapy can help individuals identify and cope with difficult thoughts or memories that may be driving addictive behavior.
Yoga is a mind-body practice that promotes conscious self-awareness. More than just a workout, getting in touch with intentional physical movements through yoga gives clients the ability to improve their mental, physical and spiritual well-being. It can also help them stay focused on their recovery and inspire healthier habits, new coping mechanisms and a sense of inner growth by cultivating a greater degree of mindfulness conducive to healing. Yoga can be adapted to clients of all fitness levels and has been shown to be beneficial when combined with traditional treatment modalities for a number of mental health and behavioral disorders, including addiction, depression, anxiety and trauma.
Mindfulness is a mental state that means being fully aware and focused on the present moment while accepting any thoughts, feelings or sensations that arise without judgment. Practicing such mindfulness can help those in recovery stop dwelling on the past or anticipating future events, making it a useful tool for managing difficult emotions and avoiding self-criticism or judgment. By helping individuals return to center and approach issues with a fresh perspective and rejuvenated mindset, mindfulness techniques can mitigate reactive thoughts or behaviors and encourage a sense of calm that promotes greater healing. Anyone in recovery for a substance abuse or mental health problem can benefit from mindfulness techniques.
Outdoor Adventure Therapy
With the Rocky Mountains as our playground, we strongly believe in healing what’s on the inside by getting outside. We’ve seen time and again how nature and adventure-based activities can help individuals develop healthy connections and positive coping mechanisms by breaking the cycle of isolation and despair, providing amazing opportunities to improve their mental and physical health. Outdoor adventure therapy has proven so effective that it is a core component of the Choice House recovery curriculum. Some of the activities included in our outdoor therapy include hiking, skiing, sports, snowshoeing and fly fishing, making it ideal for individuals with a broad range of interests or hobbies.
Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint, and learning how to stay sober in the real world can be a challenging process. After completing rehab, many clients are faced with stressors, triggers and temptations that could jeopardize their recovery, but relapse prevention provides the support they need to face these obstacles head-on and avoid falling back into bad habits. Our trained therapists meet with each individual to devise a personalized action plan to prevent relapse in the future, so every client will have a toolbox full of methods to help them stay on the right path before returning to civilian life.
Healing Happens in Community
Throughout each of our unique drug addiction therapy and recovery programs in Boulder, Colorado, our participants form a close brotherhood with one another. This powerful community creates life-long bonds with others in the same shoes, and it continues through our many alumni events. To learn more about our programs and how they can help, contact or call Choice House today at 720-577-4422.