People can learn in a variety of ways. Some people learn visually, while others learn best through experience. Similarly, various methods used in addiction treatment affect people uniquely. While talk therapy sets a solid recovery foundation, therapeutic recreation can give individuals more insight into their addiction and behaviors.

The History of Therapeutic Recreation

Also called recreational therapy, therapeutic recreation uses activities to help people understand and deal with substance abuse or other conditions. This type of therapy can take place indoors or outdoors.

As the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale is recognized as one of the pioneers of recreational therapy. She realized the power of recreation and how it improved patients’ lives. At the beginning of the 20th century, the American Red Cross and other healthcare entities adopted the use of therapeutic recreation. In the 1940s, it made its way to the mental health field, eventually becoming part of substance abuse programs.

How Therapeutic Recreation Works During Substance Abuse Treatment

Individual Taking Advantage of Therapeutic RecreationOne of the causes of addiction is the desire to escape from emotions, thoughts, or fears. Through recreation, individuals face their emotions in healthy ways. They also learn how to manage their thoughts and overcome fears. All of these benefits make navigating daily life easier, less stressful, and more fulfilling.

Recreational therapy involves a wide variety of activities. Some programs use physical fitness, hiking, yoga, and meditation for rehab therapy. Others use art, writing, music, and dance for the same purpose. These therapies help people in recovery build self-esteem, personal identity, and confidence while also improving health through physical exertion.

Recreation therapy practices like yoga and meditation help reduce stress, anxiety, and withdrawal symptom severity. Even after addiction treatment, these healthy practices will be useful during sustainable recovery. Patients improve general balance and psychological well-being through Tai Chi, other martial arts, and spiritual therapies. Activity fights boredom, fills time, and provides positive socialization opportunities.

Many people in recovery enjoy producing endorphins through strenuous activity. These hormones create a natural, healthy high. Physical exercise also restores dopamine levels and healthy brain signal relay.

Why Recreational Therapy Works

Therapeutic recreation helps people affect real change in their lives. Change occurs because they don’t keep their personal defenses up when focused on an activity. In talk therapy, clients control or alter their natural language and can negatively affect their progress. But recreational therapy breaks down barriers to feeling emotions, reducing the role of spoken words.

Goals of recreational therapy include:

  • Communication improvement
  • Relationship building
  • Anger management
  • Emotional awareness
  • Team building skill development
  • Awareness of personal limitations
  • Reward of accomplishment

Recreation also works well in conjunction with regular talk therapy. These two methods help clients advance more quickly through personal awareness and understanding.

Therapeutic Recreation at Ashley Addiction Treatment

In Havre de Grace, Maryland, Ashley Addiction Treatment uses an array of effective therapies that promote lasting addiction recovery, including therapeutic recreation. It helps participants build awareness of their feelings, create social bonds, and develop skills for growth in recovery. Even when talk therapy fails, recreation therapy creates breakthroughs.

Recreational and holistic therapies of Ashley Addiction Treatment include:

  • Spirituality for all faiths
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Yoga led by certified yoga instructors
  • Personal trainers and a state-of-the-art fitness facility
  • Music and art therapy
  • Massage and acupuncture

Ashley Addiction Treatment offers adult and young adult programs so people of all ages gain recovery and build healthy relationships with trusted peers.

If you or someone you love struggle with addiction, you need healthy recovery assistance in a quality substance abuse treatment program. Ashley Addiction Treatment in Maryland offers programs suited to individual needs. Call Ashley today at 866-313-6307 to start building a healthier, happier future.