How does someone with a substance use disorder know which treatment center is right for them? Knowing about clinical and recreational therapy can help.

A quick internet search of “drug rehabilitation” brings up pages and pages of information, but how does someone struggling with a substance use disorder know which treatment center is right for them? Each person is different and so is each person’s experience with addiction, which is why it’s important that someone’s treatment for their addiction be individualized to suit their needs.

There are several different types of therapy that clinicians utilize including counseling, cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, family therapy, group therapy, interpersonal therapy, behavioral activation, mindfulness-based therapies and more. Typically, the therapies that are used in the treatment for addiction include:

There are more types of therapies that could be used in treatment for substance use disorders but aren’t used quite as much. Most of the therapies mentioned are clinical therapies. The field of therapy is broad and consists of several specialties, like marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling and addiction counseling.

In addition to clinical therapies, clinicians also often incorporate recreational therapy into treatment plans. Recreational therapy can often include:

  • Arts and crafts
  • Animals
  • Sports
  • Games
  • Dance
  • Drama (theater)
  • Music
  • Community outings

Both clinical and recreational therapies provide different kinds of benefits for someone with a substance use disorder. The methods and practices may be different, but the effects they have on someone struggling with addiction are effective for different reasons.

What is Clinical Therapy for Addiction Treatment

The treatment program that someone participates in can vary from facility to facility but the most common kinds of clinical therapy used by clinicians in an inpatient program include:

  • Individual therapy: During this time, the client will meet one-on-one with their assigned therapist. The frequency of meetings may vary.
  • Family therapy: These sessions will include the client’s family. This time can be used to repair relationships and make family members aware of how they can help with recovery.
  • Group therapy: During these sessions, the client is able to explore topics and process underlying issues in a safe, peer-supported environment.  
  • Traumas therapies: Some facilities that treat co-occurring disorders may use trauma therapies to treat trauma-related mental health disorders like PTSD and depression. Some of these therapies could include EDMR, safety sessions and DBT.
  • 12-step programs: The frequency of the meetings can vary but the objective is to strengthen peer support and promote the continuation of working towards recovery.  

The Benefits of Clinical Therapy 

There are many types of clinical therapies that clinicians can employ, but typically when someone enrolls in a treatment program at a rehabilitation facility, they participate in individual and group therapy in addition to other kinds of therapies, depending on the facility. Inpatient and outpatient programs usually begin after detox, and therapy may continue even when the client leaves the rehab facility.

Some benefits of clinical therapy may include:

  • Self-awareness: Developing self-awareness allows someone to take control of their actions so they can make any necessary changes in their life. This benefit will help a person adjust their focus.
  • Stress management: This benefit teaches people struggling with addiction how they can deal with stress in a healthy way and can help them realize that everyone experiences stress. Stress management will help individuals with substance use disorder understand how to manage stress.
  • Developing communication skills: Therapy is an integral part of treatment because it helps someone better communication skills. Clinicians will encourage honesty and identify feelings, in addition to listening and validating those feelings, which will enable the patient to begin to the process of maintaining healthy communication.
  • Addressing trauma: By addressing one particular incident, or years of sustained trauma, a clinician can properly diagnose any co-occurring disorders in addition to the substance use disorder.
  • Overcoming shame about substance misuse: Discussing what patients may have done during their period of substance misuse may relieve discomfort for those in recovery. Patients can realize they aren’t a bad person — they are someone who is suffering from substance addiction.
  • Repairing Relationships: Relationships with family and friends can become damaged or strained when a person with an addiction is actively misusing substances. The clinician can assist in the process to rebuild trust in relationships by using clinical therapy.

What is Recreational Therapy? 

When many people think of therapy, they think of lying on a leather couch in a therapist’s office with Rorschach paintings on the wall, but is it possible that therapy could also involve painting, riding a horse or playing a game?  According to the American Therapeutic Recreation Association, it is. According to the association, recreational therapy is defined as, “a systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the assessed needs of individuals with illnesses and disabling conditions, as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery, and well-being.”

Until enrolling in an addiction treatment program at a rehab facility, a patient’s leisure time was most likely spent engaging in activities revolving around misusing substances. As they learn in clinical therapy, people recovering from addiction must learn how to manage their stress without the use of substances. Recreational therapy is a great introduction to activities that someone might enjoy doing and also help to relieve stress in a healthy way.

Recreational therapy can be a very important supplemental therapy for a variety of reasons including that it is:

  • Holistic
  • Inclusive
  • Versatile
  • Self-reflective
  • Purposeful
  • Complementary
  • Optimistic

The Benefits of Recreational Therapy 

The objective of recreational therapy for addiction treatment is often to increase positive social interaction, effective communication, problem-solving and stress management while being able to discover or reignite a passion for a healthy leisure interest and outlet. Recreational therapy is basically intended to promote sober fun so people struggling with addiction can remain on the path to long-term recovery.

Some of the benefits of recreational therapy include that it:

  • Improves social functioning
  • Improves self-esteem
  • Decrease loneliness
  • Reinforces stress management
  • Increases the ability to focus
  • Increases feelings of control
  • Increases involvement

Recreational therapy supports both mental and clinical health by introducing new interests and activities. The recovery process is difficult and can be mentally and even physically exhausting — so recreational therapy is often a welcome break in their day. There are many recreational therapies that promote physical health, so by adding this type of activity to clinical therapy, the person in recovery is supporting whole-body healing.

At the Recovery Village, our staff employs both clinical and recreational therapy to create a treatment program that can suit an individual’s needs. If you or someone you know struggles with a substance use disorder call now to speak with one of our representatives to find out what treatment program would best suit your individual or your loved one’s needs.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.