When it comes to helping individuals heal from the effects of addiction, treatment that addresses specific needs is crucial. This is because addiction doesn’t affect everyone the same way. The consequences of addiction can vary, but many find that getting out into nature can help. No matter your addiction experience, ecotherapy is a good outlet to utilize to help stimulate mindfulness. In this article, we discuss what ecotherapy is, how it can help aid recovery, and its many benefits.
Ecotherapy is a form of therapy that utilizes nature to stimulate growth and healing for the individuals involved. In the addiction treatment realm, it’s commonly referred to as nature therapy, adventure therapy, or even green therapy. No matter what it’s called, the point is the same; to help individuals develop healthier mindsets and boost confidence during recovery.
During active addiction, individuals are usually busy trying to get money for drugs, finding people to sell drugs, and using drugs themselves. So, activities other people may do for fun or even excitement may not be something the active drug addict may have time for. Furthermore, the use of drugs themselves may be how these individuals seek their thrills. In any case, ecotherapy can be helpful to allow individuals to explore their emotions, work as a member of a team, improve trust with others, and seek out peaceful mindsets.
There are a number of activities which can be utilized throughout ecotherapy sessions to help individuals embrace nature. Some of these activities may include:
Certainly, the best asset that ecotherapy can provide to individuals who utilize it during treatment is the provocation of mindfulness. Basically, mindfulness is the skill to live within the moment. Many individuals who are recovering from addiction have trouble separating the present from the past. Typically, individuals may struggle with shame, guilt, and remorse from the days of active addiction. On the other hand, recovering individuals may worry about what their future may hold. They may be anxious about being able to stay sober, repairing relationships, or go back to work/school.
Whatever the case, being able to remain in the present is imperative to focus on healing can continue. When you’re worrying about your past or future, you can’t see what’s right in front of you. And, you can’t work on addressing the things that may have led to addictive behaviors in the first place.
Nature is one of the best ways to evoke mindfulness in recovering individuals. When you’re out in nature, it’s hard to not be anywhere but in that very moment. And, since ecotherapy sessions occur in nature, they work to provoke mindfulness in participating individuals.
While developing a thought process which includes mindfulness is certainly a big goal of ecotherapy, it can also bring about a number of other benefits including:
Overcoming Self Doubt: New experiences in nature may challenge individuals to get out of their comfort zone and try more new things. During treatment and recovery, individuals need to be open to new experiences and coming out of their shell to obtain true healing and growth.
Reconnection with Peers: Outdoor experiences through ecotherapy include having to trust others to accomplish tasks. This can ignite reconnection with peers and help individuals work to establish trusting relationships. During active addiction, those affected commonly lose relationships and must learn how to reconnect and trust individuals to repair these relationships.
A Chance to Utilize What’s Learned in Treatment: Ecotherapy provides a means to practice the behavioral, social, and emotional tools gained throughout treatment. Being able to practice these needed recovery skills is helpful to individuals so they’re more prepared to utilize these tools once treatment is over.
Looking for a treatment facility which incorporates the many benefits of ecotherapy into its program? Here at Diablo Valley Drug & Alcohol Services, we understand the value nature can bring to a person’s recovery journey.