Poetry Therapy for Recovery from Addiction

Poetry Therapy for Recovery from Addiction

Poetry Therapy“Poetry can be a median of self-expression, wherein our deepest feelings and emotions are expressed… We can use poetry to represent love, hate, anger, grief, and many other human emotions and thoughts… Pondering on these thoughts may invoke actions leading to a change in one’s life and for an addict becoming mentally well.”

~Dr. Elliott Perlin, M.D., Breaking Addictions with Biblio/Poetry Therapy

San Diego drug and alcohol rehab programs are always looking to implement different treatment strategies that can aid in recovery. One such out-of-the-box approach is “poetry therapy”, and it is gaining in popularity.

What Is Poetry Therapy?

“Bibliotherapy” is a non-traditional approach to healing that focuses on the effect that therapeutic writing and reading has on a person’s well-being.

Typically, poetry therapy takes place in a group setting. In a normal meeting, participants will read aloud from a piece of verse chosen by the therapist. The piece is meant to be representative of the experiences and feelings common to many people who have a history of addictive or psychological disorders.

Participants are then asked to write down how the piece of verse made them feel – the emotions they felt in response; in particular, how those emotions juxtapose with their addiction or other past traumas.

They are guided by the therapist and encouraged to share what they have written with the group, with each person contributing their own responses and insights, to the original piece, their peers’ efforts, or both.

How Can Poetry Therapy Help Someone Recover from a Substance Abuse Disorder?

Poetry therapy is beneficial because it gives people in recovery a healthier way to process and release feelings that they were unable to express due to the cognitive and emotional changes from the growing denial of their addiction.  This can lead to a Catharsis—emotional release— and can aid in emotional health.

This is especially true in a group setting. Addiction is a lonely disease that can cause a person to feel disconnected from other people. This isolation is a factor in their ongoing addiction.

When an individual in recovery shares their writing, hears the supportive words of their peers, and understands that their experiences and feelings are common to others in the group, they begin to no longer feel quite so alone.

Because of this fellowship, each person can draw strength and inspiration from the other.

How Can I Choose a Qualified Poetry Therapist?

The National Association of Poetry Therapy set forth professional standards and requirements in 2000. The NAPT is the ONLY organization that is qualified to bestow professional accreditation –Certification, Registration, and Applied Facilitation in Poetry Therapy.

In keeping with its status as the premier outpatient addiction recovery program in San Diego, Lasting Recovery is one of a small handful of San Diego drug rehabs that utilizes poetry therapy as part of its multi-level treatment approach.

If you are looking for a drug rehab in Southern California that combines established, evidence-based treatment protocols with non-traditional wellness-based approaches, Lasting Recovery can offer you the best chance to restore sobriety, stability, sanity, and serenity to your life.

Lasting Recovery – “Where Wellness Begins…”

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