Body-mind Connection Approaches In Rehabs

Why do rehabs work with body-mind connection as part of recovery from substance abuse?


This guide will give you all you need to know about body-mind connection approaches in rehabs, in just six minutes reading time. Body-mind connection is vital for recovery from substance abuse and addiction. Mind and body are inter-related, meaning that changes in the one will facilitate changes in the other. Working with the relationship between feelings/sensations (i.e. anxiety, cravings, etc.) and action (behavior, drug use) helps you to find healthy ways to self-regulate. Recovery is about ‘connection’ and relationship with yourself (your mind, your body, and your emotions).


Addiction ravages the brain by redirecting our powerful neural reward system to prioritize the user’s drug of choice over the survival needs those systems were created for, namely food and reproduction. Introducing mind-body therapies into rehabs addiction treatment programmes means going after the neurological disorder at its core and acknowledging the complicated biological incentives for substance abuse.


What are the benefits of a body-based therapeutic approach in rehabs?


A body-based approach in rehabs emphasises the creation of a secure present, working on the non-verbal level, can provide therapeutic care and support to meet the needs of alcoholics and drug addicts. It is an approach where mind, heart and body combine in going beyond what can be described in words, in dealing with what sometimes may seem unspeakable. By affirming coping strategies and increasing the range of emotional regulation, through body-based approaches, you can deal better with your current reality and develop new ways of understanding and coping from a body level.


How rehabs work with the inner drive to recovery?


It is our belief at Rustenburg Clinic that we possess a natural tendency to heal when given proper conditions. We therefore provide a free and protected space for connecting with the drive to recovery. Rehabs create space for exploration of the ‘poetry people speak’, their dreams, imagery and somatic reaction offers a way of connecting with what is within, of giving visual form to inner experience. This can bring to the foreground certain elements, including inner resources and aspects of self that have hitherto not been available for everyday living.



Rehabs - Sandbox


How do rehabs build connection between self and the world?


Substances create the illusion of connection; addiction is about a longing for connection to self, to others and to the world. Unfortunately addiction achieves the opposite. Your life becomes unmanageable, relationships are severed and strained and there is a lack of feeling and aliveness in the body.
Without the substance, there is no self, and this is a very painful place to be in. At Rustenburg Clinic we walk the journey together to rediscovering feeling, learning to bare difficult feelings and sharing the burden and joys of regaining connection to self, others and the fundamental experience of being alive.



Rehabs - people standing in group

Connecting with breath and body in rehabs


Breath is a universal shared human experience and connects us to the world. It is considered the key to life, movement and rhythm. Breathing into the body and then connecting to each body part can be relaxing but it can also be re-traumatising.
At Rustenburg Clinic we work with attunement and empathy in our engagement with each person who comes for treatment. Creative expression is an important means of allowing clients to be with their bodies and their expression, without judgement, comment or pressure to perform.



Rehabs - Group work




How can expressive arts therapies be helpful in rehabs?


From pre-historic times and in contemporary indigenous cultures the arts served to prevent physical and mental illness of the individual and the community as a whole. Expressive arts therapies can be a means of connecting to sensory experience, the environment and an embodied sense of belonging within the personal, cultural and/or collective unconscious that can evoke a felt sense of one’s ‘ecological self’. This awareness of interdependence through the body and movement can contribute to healing ourselves, our relationship with the Earth, and the Earth itself.


How rehabs create opportunities for building community


There are few spaces in life where we can feel whole and allowed to express ourselves. The connection between peers at rehabs is vital for recovery. Without the acknowledgement at rehabs that ‘we are all in this together’ and ‘we need each other to recover’, the chances of relapse are great. This connection and building of community addresses one of the main concerns of the modern age where technology and disconnection from self and others is growing.


Can rehabs offer opportunities to engage with difficulties related to the addiction?


People come into rehabs with a range of difficulties such as: anxiety; bereavement; depression; dealing with mental or physical illness; a need to improve, remediate or rehabilitate cognitive, physical, emotional and psychosocial functioning; gender difficulties; obsessive compulsive behaviours; the effects of trauma (including childhood emotional deprivation, difficult parent-child match and sexual abuse); relationship problems; eating disorders; a sense of wanting to fill an inner emptiness or work with blockages to growth and healing. These are addressed in rehabs as part of a holistic treatment that works with the whole person and their lived experience. The National Institute on Drug Abuse stresses that effective treatment in rehabs will address not just drug abuse, but also multiple needs, including issues of body, mind and spirit.


Rehabs and Recovery


Recovery is a process of change through which people improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential. There are four major dimensions that support recovery in rehabs:


• Health—overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) or symptoms and making informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional well-being.

• Home—having a stable and safe place to live.

• Purpose—conducting meaningful daily activities and having the independence, income, and resources to participate in society.

• Community—having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.

Rehabs and building resilience as part of recovery


Families of people in recovery may experience adversities that lead to increased family stress, guilt, shame, anger, fear, anxiety, loss, grief, and isolation. The concept of resilience in recovery is also vital for family members who need access to intentional supports that promote their health and well-being. The support of peers and friends is also crucial in engaging and supporting individuals in recovery.


Who do rehabs cater to?


Substance use disorders affect people from all walks of life and all age groups. These illnesses are common, recurrent, and often serious, but they are treatable and many people do recover. These disorders can affect how we relate to others and make choices. Reaching a level that can be formally diagnosed often depends on a reduction in a person’s ability to function as a result of the disorder. Substance use disorders occur when the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes clinically significant impairment, including health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home.


How rehabs support behavioural and physical health?


Substance use can make daily activities difficult and impair a person’s ability to work, interact with family, and fulfill other major life functions. Preventing substance use disorders or co-occurring disorders and related problems is critical to behavioural and physical health. By addressing aspects of physical, mental and emotional health, treatment helps with developing the skills and lifestyle needed to be successful in recovery for the long-term. Mind-body therapies improve overall mental and physical health while improving brain function. These are practices that we should all engage in regularly, as a normal part of our days just like eating well and exercising.


A holistic approach to an addiction-free life in rehabs


Rehabs have varying degrees of success in terms of recovery from substance abuse disorder. At Rustenburg Clinic we use a holistic approach to recovery from substance abuse. It meets the needs of you as a whole person and is more likely to lead to a successful recovery. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA,) in the USA, a holistic approach to recovery offers the best possible treatment outcomes.


How rehabs bring recovery and balance to your mind, spirit, and body?


Substance misuse and addiction are complex. A holistic approach acknowledges the complexity of recovery. That’s why holistic rehab is the best option for you to continue your life addiction-free. No single treatment works for every individual. Holistic treatment programs address all of an individual’s multiple needs. The process of recovery is highly personal and occurs via many pathways.


How to rehabs support recovery from substance abuse?


Hope, the belief that these challenges and conditions can be overcome, is the foundation of recovery. Recovery is characterized by continual growth and improvement in one’s health and wellness that may involve setbacks. Because setbacks are a natural part of life, resilience becomes a key component of recovery.


Rehabs and non-verbal expressive arts therapies


Rehabs support the drive to healing and becoming whole without the addiction. They include practitioners who address the mind, body, and spirit connections to help you fully break the chains of addiction. Integrative approaches that include non-verbal expressive arts therapies offer the best opportunity for long-term success.


The use of verbal and/or nonverbal expressive therapy methods and techniques aid individuals or groups in rehabs by:

a) Addressing the therapeutic goals of symptom relief, the development and integration of emotional, cognitive, psychosocial and physical functioning and personal growth;

b) Improving intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships with an awareness of individuals and groups as part of a wider matrix of community and ecological networks;

c) Enhancing resilience through the development of creative capacity;

d) Improving, remediating and /or rehabilitating cognitive, physical, emotional and psychosocial functioning;

e) Promoting health and quality of life.


The focus in rehabs on how experience is thought of and felt in the body


Mind and body are inter-related, meaning that changes in the one will facilitate changes in the other. Experience is not merely thought of, it is felt; it can often even defy language’s ability to express it. Holistic programmes in rehabs work with the innate human capacity to express and create in multiple non-verbal ways and thus overcome language’s inability to fully convey the lived experience of cognitive, emotional and physiological reactions to internal and external factors. It is an approach where mind, heart and body combine in going beyond what can be described in words, in dealing with what sometimes may seem unspeakable.


Rehabs and the importance of getting professional treatment


Struggling with addiction has devastating and complicated long-term effects. The best way to overcome substance use disorders is to get professional treatment. This allows individuals to get unique treatment at rehabs, physical and psychological help, and a deeper understanding of their addiction. When someone battling addiction enters rehabs, they receive medication and have access to innovative treatments within rehabs.


Rehabs and exercise


In a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, it was found that exercise provided important support to those engaged in drug addiction treatment, and that a maintained exercise program often translated into maintained abstinence. That’s great news because it’s one of the easiest things you can do to help yourself in recovery, and it’s something that you can pick up no matter where you are in the process of leaving drugs and alcohol in the past. At Rustenburg Clinic our holistic approach to recovery includes exercise as part of overall wellbeing and healing from addiction.



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