Art therapy is an effective way for clients struggling with addictions to gain access to the full range of their emotions, without having to rely entirely on their ability to verbalize what they feel. As their understanding expands, they are able to acknowledge the necessary changes they must make in order to live a drug-free life. In effect, art therapy bypasses the potential manipulation of the spoken word and focuses on the issues that need to be explored and understood in order to facilitate a genuine change in behaviour. Thus, counselors choose individual clients who have difficulty expressing themselves verbally for art therapy. The therapeutic alliance that forms in individual art therapy offers the client support and encouragement as they begin their journey to build a more cohesive self.
Yoga, among its other benefits, is an excellent stress reliever, which is something that those in recovery need, as stress is one of the leading causes of substance abuse. And as a form of physical exercise, it complements the verbal therapies that are a large part of the Vitanova model of recovery.
Acupuncture has a long history at Vitanova, having been introduced nearly twenty years ago by our then consulting psychiatrist, the late Sherwood (“Woodie”) Appleton. In 1996 he reported on the treatment of 45 Vitanova clients (30 males, 15 females) who indicated they felt “inner calm and serenity”, enhanced cognitive clarity and marked mood improvement after receiving auricular acupuncture.