How Can Creativity Reframe Your Recovery?

Addiction Recovery Publishing Addiction Recovery April 12, 2024

How Can Creativity Reframe Your Recovery?

It is not hyperbole to say that creativity is an essential component of a well-lived life. The groundbreaking director Ava DuVernay said, “Creativity is an energy. It’s a precious energy, and it’s something to be protected. A lot of people take for granted that they’re a creative person, but I know from experience, feeling it in myself, it is magic; it is an energy, and it can’t be taken for granted.” This is also true in utilizing creativity to reframe your recovery.

Reframe Your Recovery to Heal at the Cellular Level

Recovery is about a lot more than simply putting down the drink or the drug. It is about healing the mind, body, and soul. When these three components get well, it is also considered “healing at the cellular level.” Of course, it is one thing to talk about healing at the cellular level and another thing to actually accomplish it.

Many treatment centers utilize a “one-size-fits-all” recovery plan. Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we find that this simply doesn’t go far enough. While it may be a start, it falls flat when it comes time to focus on personal needs. It falls flat when it comes time to get to the root/core causes of your addiction and/or mental health issues.

Getting to the Root/Core Causes to Open up Creativity

When considering recovery, many people stop short of where the real healing can begin. They only go surface-deep. However, the real root/core causes of addiction and mental illness often lie deep under the surface.

There is a reason that many people in recovery hold to the maxim, “Addiction is not about the drink or the drug. Rather, it is about what drove us to drink and use in the first place.” Surface-level recovery is not going to delve deep enough to discover these truths.

Take the underlying root/core cause, which is trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), for example. Many people don’t even realize that they are holding onto trauma, let alone that their trauma is manifesting itself in addiction and/or mental illness. 

Also, trauma and PTSD are much more common than many people may realize. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the National Center for PTSD, “About 6 out of every 100 people (or 6% of the U.S. population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives.” Also, “About 5 out of every 100 adults (or 5%) in the U.S. has PTSD in any given year. In 2020, about 13 million Americans had PTSD.” But you will remain unaware of this trauma unless you start to focus on root/core causes and work on your recovery with professionals in an individualized way.

Reframe Your Recovery With Individualized Mental Health and Addiction Care

Individualized mental health and addiction care is essential if you are to heal at the cellular level. It only makes sense. “One-note” “cookie-cutter” recovery plans can only take you so far. Recovery professionals must get to know you, not just your diagnosis.

This essential personalized intake will take into account your family history, your career and/or school dynamics, and your ultimate goals for recovery. It will also help to determine the best comprehensive roadmap for your recovery.

Reframe Your Recovery With Comprehensive Mental Health and Addiction Care

As previously mentioned, a recovery plan should focus on the mind, body, and soul so that you can heal at the cellular level. The best way to achieve this interconnected healing is via comprehensive recovery plans that utilize multiple means, methods, and modalities.

These various options for recovery should also take from as many areas of treatment as possible. This includes focusing on “traditional” evidence-based addiction and mental health care modalities like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), experiential creative methods like art and music therapy, and holistic means like yoga and meditation. Another modality that can be particularly helpful in rounding out a comprehensive recovery plan is ketamine-assisted therapy.

Utilizing Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy to Open up Creativity

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is a great way to start to get to the root/core causes of your issues, help you heal at the cellular level, and begin to open yourself up creatively. Unfortunately, many people still hold a stigma toward ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. The good news is that this stigma has been significantly lifting over the last few years.

So, what exactly is ketamine-assisted psychotherapy? According to the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, “Currently, ketamine is the only legal psychedelic medicine available to mental health providers for the treatment of emotional suffering. Over the past several years, ketamine has come into psychiatric use as an intervention for treatment-resistant depression (TRD), administered intravenously without a psychotherapeutic component… [W]e believe ketamine can benefit patients with a wide variety of diagnoses when administered with psychotherapy and using its psychedelic properties without the need for intravenous (IV) access.”

Ketamine-assisted therapy has also been shown to offer a wide range of benefits. According to the Journal of Pain Research, “From available [ketamine-assisted psychotherapy] KAP publications, it is apparent that combined treatments can, in specific circumstances, initiate and prolong clinically significant reductions in pain, anxiety, and depressive symptoms, while encouraging rapport and treatment engagement, and promoting abstinence in patients addicted to other substances. Despite much variance in how KAP is applied (route of ketamine administration, ketamine dosage/frequency, psychotherapy modality, overall treatment length), these findings suggest psychotherapy, provided before, during, and following ketamine sessions, can maximize and prolong benefits.”

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is also a great way to reframe your recovery and open yourself creatively because it can unlock some of the blocks that we often hold onto when engaging in traditional psychotherapy. Ultimately, it can help us be more honest with ourselves. Another type of therapy that can help with this creative blockage is experiential therapy (of which there are many).

Utilizing Experiential Therapy to Open up Creativity

Experiential therapy is all about getting off of the therapist’s couch and out in the world. It is the use of creative activities and/or outdoor adventuring to help get to the root/core causes of your addiction and/or mental health issues and heal at the cellular level.

Experiential therapy is based on what is known as “experiential learning.” According to the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Psychology, “The Experiential Learning Theory developed by Kolb (1984) provides a holistic model of the learning process and a multilinear model of adult development. It emphasizes the central role that the person’s subjective experience plays in their learning process. Learning from both cognitive and emotional perspectives is at the heart of experiential learning.” 

Experiential therapy is one of the most ideal types of therapy for you to open up your creative side. This is especially true for experiential art therapy. 

Reframe Your Recovery: Art Therapy

So, what exactly is art therapy? The answer is that it is a lot more than putting paintbrush to page (though, in some instances, that can be part of it).

According to Frontiers in Psychology and the British Association of Art Therapists, art therapy is “a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of expression and communication… The art therapist’s primary concern is not to make an esthetic or diagnostic assessment of the client’s image. The overall goal of its practitioners is to enable clients to change and grow on a personal level through the use of artistic materials in a safe and convenient environment.” Art therapy allows you to create and then open based on what you both see and experience.

Many people balk at art therapy because they worry that they are not “artistic” individuals. You need not worry about that. As the journal mentioned, it is not about what is created but rather about the process and the analysis. Also, you can choose from any type of medium to participate in art therapy with, such as paints, clay, found objects, and collages (just to name a few). Another excellent form of experiential therapy for creativity is music therapy.

Reframe Your Recovery: Music Therapy

Music therapy is an excellent way to get in touch with your creative side. Also, this can come from either creating music or simply listening to music.

Music therapy has fast become highly regarded within the field of addiction and mental health recovery. This is due to its many benefits. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), “Performing or listening to music activates a variety of structures in the brain that are involved in thinking, sensation, movement, and emotion. These brain effects may have physical and psychological benefits. For example, music causes the release of brain chemicals (neurotransmitters and hormones) that can evoke emotional reactions, memories, and feelings and promote social bonds.”

Even when simply listening to music, music therapy is considered “active therapy” because you must be very engaged with the vibrations happening around you. This is even more true with the experiential adventure therapy of nature immersion therapy.

Reframe Your Recovery: Nature Immersion Therapy

There may be no better place to engage in nature immersion therapy than on the Hamakua Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island. Here you can interact with some of the most amazing waterfalls, breathtaking overlooks, white sand beaches, and even a live volcano, all while getting the essential benefits of nature immersion therapy.

Nature immersion therapy is all about reconnecting with nature so you can better reconnect with yourself. This critical connection can open up the doors to creativity that you have thought long locked away. 

The benefits of nature immersion therapy are vast and varied. According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “[A]cross more than one hundred studies on nature/wildlife exposure, stress mitigation has been shown to be one of the most consistent and important psychological benefits. Besides improvements to physical and psychological well-being, exposure to natural environments has been shown to bring about positive impacts on cognitive functioning… While cognitive restoration and physiological well-being are the prominent and renowned benefits of nature exposure, there is one important construct that is often overlooked in environmental psychology research studies—that is, the human-nature relationship; also known as connectedness to nature (CN).”

It is this “connectedness to nature” that is also an essential component of surf therapy, which is also a great way to express yourself creatively. Also, it is a special therapy to take part in on Hawaii’s Big Island.

Reframe Your Recovery: Surf Therapy

A mere 15-minute journey from our 30-acre luxury property at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab sits one of the best surf breaks on Hawaii’s Big Island, Honoli’i. Here you can create amazing runs as you ride some of the most amazing Pacific waves. There are also great opportunities to meditate and connect with yourself between breaks.

As with “traditional” nature immersion therapy, surf therapy has a myriad of benefits. According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Carefully planned water activities tailored to the needs of the individual can contribute to correct psychosocial and cognitive development. The International Surf Therapy Organization summarizes the benefits of adequately indicated surf therapy as follows: improved physical health and mobility; improved mental health, including reduction of specific symptoms, such as posttraumatic stress and depression; improved well-being (strengthening of trust and confidence, encouragement of independence, resilience and protective coping strategies) and improved social skills.”

Another way to get creative with Mother Nature is to engage with horticulture therapy. Also, another unique benefit that is offered at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab.

Reframe Your Recovery: Horticulture Therapy

Horticulture has been practiced as a means of calming the mind for centuries. However, it has only been recently that horticulture therapy has been found to be so highly beneficial for healing from addiction and mental health issues. It is an ideal way to reframe your recovery.

Horticulture therapy offers many benefits for the mind, body, and soul. According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “People’s interactions with plants, through goal-orientated horticultural activities in the form of active gardening, as well as the passive appreciation of nature, could be therapeutic to people with mental disorders in many ways. First, horticulture could have emotional benefits, such as reducing stress, reducing psychiatric symptoms, stabilizing mood, and increasing the sense of tranquility, spirituality, and enjoyment. Second, it could help people to reduce fatigue and restore attention and cognitive ability.”

It is also an ideal way to get outside and attain some essential vitamin D from the sweet Hawaiian sunshine (a vital element for recovery). Another way to get some of the benefits of the Big Island’s landscape is via meditation.

Reframe Your Recovery: Meditation

The iconic Swiss clergyman and philosopher Saint Francis de Sales famously said, “Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.” Meditation may not be a wholly creative process. It is often very structured. However, what it can do is reframe your recovery so you can go forth and fulfill your creative needs.

Meditation offers many benefits to reframe your recovery, most of which will reveal themselves at different times of the process. According to the Journal of Research in Ayurveda (AYU), “Research has confirmed a myriad of health benefits associated with the practice of meditation. These include stress reduction, decreased anxiety, decreased depression, reduction in pain (both physical and psychological), improved memory, and increased efficiency. Physiological benefits include reduced blood pressure, heart rate, lactate, cortisol, and epinephrine; decreased metabolism, breathing pattern, oxygen utilization, and carbon dioxide elimination; and increased melatonin, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S), skin resistance, and relative blood flow to the brain.” Plus, with the benefits of creativity, meditation is a win-win.

Reframing Recovery With Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

One of the most iconic musicians of our lifetime, Yo-Yo Ma, said, “Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks.” At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we are passionate about recovery, and we know that, when you join us, you will be too.

Recovery is about the journey, never about the destination. That journey is a lot more exciting when we bring our creativity to it.

In recovery, it can be crucial to reconnect with your creative side. This reconnection can occur through experiential therapies, meditation, horticulture, journaling, and exploring Hawaii’s Big Island (just to name a few activities). If you feel like you or a loved one is struggling with issues of mental illness, addiction, or co-occurring disorders, we can help get you on the positive path to healing at the cellular level. The key is to reach out and ask for help. For more information on how this renewed creative perspective can help you thrive both during and after you leave the recovery center, please reach out to Exclusive Hawaii Rehab today at (808) 775-0200.