Activity therapy is a therapeutic approach that allows residents with various mental health diagnoses to engage in actions, movements, and activities to face problems and concerns and improve quality of life.
Types of Activity Therapy
At The Retreat, rock climbing is more than just recreation. The experience of climbing can be a powerful tool for self-discovery and self -observation. Often times, it helps residents to explore risk taking and overcome self-imposed limitations. It can also be utilized as a metaphor for many mental health issues addressed in other components of the program. We embrace the concept of challenge by choice, allowing residents to choose their own level of challenge during the rock climbing sessions. These sessions are held at Earth Treks Climbing Center, a state-of-the-art indoor climbing gym in Timonium, Maryland.
Meditation is the conscious cultivation of mindfulness, positive emotion, and a clear perception of the way things are. It is not prayer but a form of inner listening in which we consciously practice new ways of being present in the moment without judgment. Mindfulness is essentially observing our thoughts in the present moment without the urge to react impulsively or stop/discount them. In this group, patients engage in Eastern movement practices, mindfulness meditation and guided imagery. Meditation is also an effective way to manage stress. This group interweaves elements of meditation and stress management as antidotes to addictive behaviors such as eating disorders and alcohol/drug misuse and abuse.
Each Saturday, a recreational therapist plans a therapeutic outing that explores issues including communication, trust, social interaction, and personal accomplishment. Saturday outings are presented on Thursday to allow residents time to plan accordingly. Monthly therapeutic outings can include rock climbing and equine assisted therapy. Seasonal outings have included chartering a sailboat, skiing and snowboarding, and kayaking, among others.
Exercise offers numerous benefits ranging from improved cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, and endurance to increased energy, self-esteem, and overall sense of well-being. For a variety of reasons, including depression and anxiety, many people do not include exercise as a part of their lives. Exercise has been proven to be an effective adjunct treatment for depression and anxiety, and is part of reducing vulnerability factors in the DBT model. Group participants have the opportunity to engage in aerobic conditioning, strength training, flexibility, and core exercises.
Cardio-strength groups are offered on Mondays at 11 a.m. and Thursdays at 3 p.m.
When practiced on a regular basis, yoga can be very
effective in managing anxiety, depression, and OCD symptoms.
Yoga sessions at The Retreat primarily focus on breathing techniques and restorative poses to increase flexibility, decrease tension, and counteract the flight/fight/freeze response. Yoga inherently increases body awareness and works mindfully with the intention of interrupting the patterning of thoughts. This corresponds with the DBT practices of mindfulness and observing our thoughts instead of reacting to them, reinforcing the idea that we are so much more than our thoughts.
In addition to scheduled yoga group sessions, individual sessions are available to specifically address the needs of patients so that they can discover the style of yoga that best suits their individual goals when transitioning home.