The clinicians at The Retreat recognize that the healing process is different for everyone, and that part of healing is building a life outside of the doctor’s office or treatment center.
An important aspect of being able to enjoy life involves having a strong sense of one’s self, feeling comfortable in your own skin, and being able to identify who you are and what things bring you joy. We have developed a group focused on healing from shame that utilizes Tai Chi practices in an effort to help our patients strengthen and foster a strong sense of self.
Using specific listening and attention techniques that originated in the ancient practice of T’ai Chi Chuan, residents learn to transform their previous aggressive reactions into calmer and more thoughtful responses. By adopting the metaphor of “internal self-defense,” residents gradually use methods to recenter, become more flexible, and stop feeling like victims.
Often individuals with emotional challenges describe lifelong patterns of conflicted and unsatisfying relationships. Through Emotions in Motion, patients learn to recognize physical manifestations from real and imagined situations and criticisms of others, such as facial tension, aggressive posturing, a glazed state, increased heartbeat and breathing, and loss of balance and temperature changes. Positive modification techniques are then taught to help patients learn how to better respond to others, distinguish boundaries, and improve the relationships that are important to them.
“Restoring the Self” tackles issues of negative self-image and fractured self-esteem through therapeutic exercises that are interactive and educational. The goal of these exercises is to strengthen the resident’s feelings about him or herself. During therapy, we tackle internal issues of shame, loss, grief, loneliness, and rage. We also explore positive approaches to thinking and feeling such as empathy, compassion, forgiveness, and hope, encouraging incorporation of these approaches into everyday life. Therapy can equip a person with new skills and capacities to approach the challenges that brought them onto The Retreat.
Through “Restoring the Self,” various cultural and psychotherapeutic traditions are used to explore common human issues. We hope these lead to pathways of healing, and freedom from damaging patterns. The goal is to help each resident find a healthier sense of self as they pursue their recovery and build resilience.