Lakeview Health adopts a mind/body/spirit approach to recovery. The inclusion of Expressive Therapy (ET), also known as art therapy, is another supportive feature that contributes to this treatment philosophy. ET improves the physical, cognitive, social, emotional and spiritual functioning of Lakeview patients encouraging them to more fully engage in life.
While at Lakeview, patients learn a variety of healthy coping skills that support long-term recovery. Expressive Therapy allows patients to practice these new skills in a safe and supportive environment. It gives them the opportunity to re-connect with leisure and healthy fun without the need for intoxicants.
Patients who participate in active recreational programming:
- Learn how to have fun in sobriety.
- Identify how to choose non-intoxicant alternatives for achieving their goals.
- Improve the use of their free time and leisure planning.
- Increase their self-esteem and self-actualization.
- Learn how to cope with stress without the use of chemicals.
- Learn strategies to deal with anger and anxiety and depression.
- Identify how to adopt healthy skills for socializing drug and alcohol free.
Most people take their first drink or drug as part of a leisure activity. As patients learn what leisure in recovery can look like, they gain confidence, a sense of pride and increased self-esteem for trying new activities for the first time in many years.
Some of the recreational activities we offer include arts therapy, crafts, sports, team building games, dance and movement, drama, music, and community outings and volunteerism.
Expressive Arts Therapy Programs at Lakeview Health
- Anger Management
Teaching skills in addressing and diffusing anger in a healthy and constructive way.
Utilizing the Recovery By Design Group that helps patients express their feelings through various art assignments.
Builds on skills for anger management and effective communication.
- Leisure Education
Leisure education helps identify values, practicing leisure skills (team work, anger management and problem solving.
Example of Expressive Therapy – The Helium Stick
In the below video, some of our staff illustrate an activity called the Helium Stick. The activity is designed to show patients that when you get stressed out, you have a physical reaction and your muscles tense up, affecting your whole body, even the little muscles in your fingers. When your whole body becomes stressed, you lose focus on your initial task, inevitably becoming more and more frustrated. So how does this relate to recovery? Watch and find out.
Alexis Thomas – Expressive Therapy Specialist
Alexis Thomas, M.S., LMHC, CTRS has a bachelor’s degree in recreation from Georgia Southern College and a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Troy University. Alexis is part of the Expressive Therapy program as a certified therapeutic recreation specialist. Prior to her work at Lakeview, she worked for the Methodist Home for Children. Alexis applies spiritual principles in her clinical practice.
Music Therapy can provide avenues for improved communication, particularly for patients who find it difficult to express their feelings. This therapeutic process allows patients the opportunity to be introspective about lyrics, tempo, and beat, giving them permission to explore and become more comfortable with their feelings.
According to the American Music Therapy Association, studies have shown that music therapy has been highly effective in increasing relaxation and energy levels and decreasing impulsiveness, which can be a common behavior with addiction.
Music Therapy has proven outcomes to:
- reduce muscle tension
- decrease anxiety/agitation
- enhance interpersonal relationships
- enhance self -expression and self-awareness
- improve perception and differentiation of feelings
- improve ability self-sooth and recognize and cope with traumatic triggers
- improve self/image and increased self esteem
- increase verbalization
- improve group cohesiveness
- increase motivation
Weekly group classes are facilitated by our full-time certified music therapist, Brittney Harmon. She introduces patients to non-threatening forms of expressing their feelings through songs and lyrics development.
We invite you to listen to Brittany sing one of the songs made by our patients:
“I Don’t Got This”
Testimonials from the Music Therapy Program
How has this music therapy experience helped in your recovery?
- “Music is a huge part of my life!…It’s a form of expression as well as a way to find myself in lyrics”
- “It makes it not so hard and lonely”
- “I look forward to this group more than anything. Lets me express myself and learn I have a voice through music.”
- “I always enjoy music- makes me forget problems.”
What is one thing you can take away in learning about music and recovery?
- “That recovery is possible”
- “I have a voice in different types of music and can express myself”
- “Music can put you in a wonderful state of mind”
- “Whenever I’m down, I listen to music with a positive message”
- “A lot of musicians are in recovery. It can be done”
- “I can apply it to my life in several ways. Music is now one of my coping skills.”
- “A new way of thinking and an understanding. Even if I’m not around people in recovery at times in life, I can always find a song with someone who is.”
Brittany Harmon – Music Therapy Specialist
Brittany Harmon is a board-certified music therapist who has served clients in medical, psychiatric and educational settings throughout Florida. She received her bachelor’s degree in music from Stetson University and a master’s degree in music therapy from Florida State University.
Listen to Brittany as she shares more about the value of music therapy on our podcast. Music Therapy Podcast